October 20, 2011

LGBT community’s health equality issues persist: speaker

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Shane Snowdon spoke at Vanderbilt on health care equality issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. (photo by Susan Urmy)

LGBT community’s health equality issues persist: speaker

Shane Snowdon hopes Vanderbilt will someday be one of the health facilities listed among the leaders in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health care equality.

Snowdon, founder and director of the Center for LGBT Health & Equity at the University of California San Francisco, spoke at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s grand rounds on Friday, Oct. 14.

Her talk, entitled “LGBT Patient-Centered Care: Information & Best Practices from the Institute of Medicine and the Joint Commission,” was filled with facts about health inequities that persist for LGBT patients, as well as LGBT health care providers.

“Many LGBT community members go into the health care system with a lot of worries. How will this go, how will we be treated and will we have any rights? A large number of LGBT patients will delay or avoid care,” Snowdon said.

Snowdon peppered her presentation with sharp humor and deeply personal stories. She said the nursing and medical school students and faculty would have more training in health care equity for LGBT patients, by way of her presentation, than more than 90 percent of providers across the country.

Snowdon is participating in a bus tour sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), to encourage best practices for LGBT health care, especially in states like Tennessee that currently have little or no legal protections for this group.

Participants in the Grand Rounds lecture received copies of the 2011 Healthcare Equality Index, an introduction to the best practices promoted by the HRC to ensure equitable and inclusive care for this patient group.

Snowdon has been a leading voice for LGBT health equity for decades, providing training to hospitals, clinics, schools and professional groups nationwide. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Health Achievement Award of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and she is a member of HRC's Healthcare Equality Index National Advisory Council.

For more information on Snowdon go to http://lgbt.ucsf.edu. For more information on the HRC’s guidelines for best practices, go to www.hrc.org/hei.