UCSF Undertakes Comprehensive Review to Raise Bar for LGBTQ Healthcare Nationwide

University Hires Consultant Who Directed LGBT Center, Helped Launch Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index

By Laura Kurtzman

UC San Francisco has hired a consultant who will help the University undertake a comprehensive review of how it can improve LGBTQ healthcare nationwide.

portrait of Shane Snowdon

Shane Snowdon was the first full-time director of the UCSF LGBT Resource Center, and she is returning as a consultant for the University.

Shane Snowdon, MA, who helped make UCSF a national leader in LGBTQ health and equity in her 13 years at the University, is returning as a consultant to make recommendations for optimizing both the care and the welcome that UCSF Health extends to LGBTQ patients, through the lens of the evolving field.

UCSF has been a leader in LGBTQ care for many years, said Snowdon, who developed a national health program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and is now at Harvard Divinity School, seeking to enhance dialogue between LGBTQ people and religiously affiliated institutions.

LGBTQ equity is more widely supported than ever before and medical centers throughout the country have improved their care for LGBTQ patients, she said. Now is the time, she said, to see what more we can do at UCSF Health to advance practices here and beyond.    

“We’re undertaking a comprehensive review, asking how UCSF Health can once again raise the bar for LGBTQ care nationwide,” Snowdon said. “We’ll be looking first at how to provide even better care for LGBTQ patients. And then we’ll be looking at how best to communicate to LGBTQ people, who have faced so much discrimination in healthcare and beyond, that UCSF Health sees them, supports them and offers great care.”

We’re undertaking a comprehensive review, asking how UCSF Health can once again raise the bar for LGBTQ care nationwide.

Shane Snowdon

From 1999 to 2012, Snowdon was the first full-time director of the UCSF LGBT Resource Center. Her many contributions – which earned her the Chancellor’s Award for Exceptional University Service as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Leadership – included creating the popular annual LGBTQIA+ Health Forum, which celebrated its 11th anniversary this year, and the country’s first Summit on LGBT Issues in Medical Education, based on groundbreaking curriculum she helped create.

She also helped develop HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the annual U.S. hospital “scorecard” which has rated UCSF as an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader every year – a record unmatched by any other major healthcare facility. The HEI is now used annually by nearly 700 hospitals nationwide to measure how well they are serving LGBT people and to receive training, support, and recognition for enhanced LGBTQ care.

In returning to UCSF, Snowdon is focusing on five areas:

  • Using the ever-expanding HEI to ensure that UCSF Health is offering unexcelled care for LGBTQ people
  • Developing a training program that will offer everyone who works at UCSF Health, in every job role, an understanding of how to help LGBTQ patients with the challenges they face
  • Publicly communicating UCSF Health’s strong commitment to LGBTQ health and equity, so that LGBT patients and their families feel welcome and comfortable
  • Strengthening the connection between UCSF Health and the many LGBTQ resources on campus
  • Offering UCSF Health’s best practices to other healthcare institutions

UCSF Health CEO and President Mark R. Laret said Snowdon’s work is an important part of the continual process of improvement across the health system.

“Our vision at UCSF Health is to be the best provider of health care services,” he said. “While we have a strong history of supporting LGBTQ patients, we must continually challenge ourselves to understand how we can make our organization the safest and most welcoming place for LGBTQ patients and their families to receive care.”