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VUMC again recognized for health care equality efforts

Aug. 1, 2013, 9:25 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has again been recognized as a leader in LGBT health care equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

The Medical Center meets the HEI “Core Four” criteria to meeting the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. These include patient non-discrimination policies, visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies and training in LGBTI patient-centered care.

When it achieved its first Leader in Equality designation last year, Vanderbilt was the only hospital in Tennessee to receive the recognition. This year, 718 hospitals nationwide meet the criteria, including four in Tennessee.

Kristen Eckstrand, an M.D., Ph.D., student, and Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Anesthesiology, co-direct the Program for LGBTI Health within the Office for Diversity in Medical education.

Eckstrand said the program has been very busy in the past year providing training at the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and numerous departments.

“We have also been invited to give lectures, consult nationally on best practices with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Institute of Medicine and have expanded work and research to the greater Nashville community,” Echstrand said.

Andre Churchwell, M.D., associate dean for Diversity for the School of Medicine, said the LGBTI program has grown in national prominence through the hard work of its leaders.

“Kristen and Jesse were the keynote speakers at the first summit on LGBTI health at the 2012 AAMC national meeting. They serve as consultants to a number of national medical organizations and I only expect that to grow. Vanderbilt’s unique academic program support has been a great platform to launch this new directive,” Churchwell said.

Vanderbilt is among the first academic medical centers to both achieve the HEI Leadership designation and form an office dedicated to LGBTI health and equality. For more information, go to

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