National Medical Education Summit Marks Banner Year for UCSF LGBT Center

John Dalrymple of UC Davis School of Medicine talks with Kate Kendell, executive director of the Center for Lesbian Rights, at UCSF's National Summit on LGBT Issues in Medical Education. In background, from left, are Daisy DeLeon of Loma Linda School of Medicine, Ed Callahan of UC Davis School of Medicine, and Lee Jones of the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

It was a breakthrough year for UCSF’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, long the nation’s only LGBT office in a health care or health education setting. “As LGBT people experience more equality and acceptance in society as a whole, they’re receiving much greater attention in the health realm,” says Shane Snowdon, who has served as director of the UCSF LGBT Center since 1999. “And in 2010, LGBT health needs became much more visible than ever before.” UCSF has played a leading role in calling attention to LGBT concerns in health care and health education. “UCSF’s schools have been international pioneers in LGBT health education—and our Medical Center has an unparalleled reputation for excellence in LGBT patient care,” Snowdon proudly notes. “Every day, the LGBT Center receives requests from other schools and hospitals for information about what we offer in the LGBT realm.” In order to share UCSF’s groundbreaking work in medical education with other institutions, in October the LGBT Center presented a highly successful National Summit on LGBT Issues in Medical Education. The very first event of its kind, the Summit was attended by 60 of the nation’s medical schools, with support from The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation. Attendees received a wealth of LGBT curriculum and climate resources, which they pledged to put to use at their own campuses. Snowdon was also invited to deliver a plenary address on LGBT health concerns at the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, which recently created several LGBT initiatives inspired by UCSF’s work. “It’s very exciting to see medical education embracing LGBT issues—and other disciplines are doing the same, led by UCSF,” she says. LGBT concerns also received unprecedented attention in health care in 2010. The Joint Commission, which accredits the nation’s hospitals, issued a requirement that hospitals explicitly cover LGBT patients in their nondiscrimination policies. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), at the direction of President Obama, issued a regulation requiring hospitals to allow same-sex partners to visit one another. Snowdon, who is working with the Joint Commission on implementation of the LGBT nondiscrimination requirement, believes that it will have “a very significant impact” on LGBT patient care, together with the new HHS regulation. But, she notes, the UCSF Medical Center has long met both requirements on a voluntary basis. “They are just two of the criteria for a perfect score on the national LGBT Health care Equality Index—and in 2010, the UCSF Medical Center became the only health care facility in the country to receive four consecutive perfect scores on the Index.” Snowdon has worked closely with the Medical Center to meet—in fact, exceed—the requirements of the Index, a national survey developed to improve care for LGBT patients nationwide, and she fields frequent requests from health care organizations seeking to follow UCSF’s lead. “In 2010, health care and health education really awakened to LGBT concerns—and UCSF was able to provide them with resources, expertise, and inspiration,” Snowdon says. “It was truly a banner year for LGBT health!” It was also a banner year for Snowdon herself, who was recognized with two awards for her work at UCSF. The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association honored her with their Health Achievement Award, and she was named a “Local Hero” by KQED Public Media. Snowdon notes that 2010 also saw the appointment of UCSF’s first Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach, Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD. The UCSF LGBT Center will be housed within the new Office of Diversity and Outreach, and Snowdon looks forward to the synergy that will result. “I’m excited about what UCSF will be able to accomplish by uniting its leading-edge diversity efforts—2011 promises to be another great year!”

For more information:

UCSF LGBT Center LGBT Health care Equality Index