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“COME OUT FOR HEALTH” was the theme of this year’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Awareness Week March 28 to April 1.

Promoting and improving the health of LGBT patients

08/Apr/2011

CROSS-CULTURAL CARE: Back row, from left, Landry, Klein, Raney and Hopwood. Front row, Rivera-Valentine

“COME OUT FOR HEALTH” was the theme of this year’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Awareness Week March 28 to April 1. Members of the MGH community observed the week by participating in a number of engaging events hosted by the MGH LGBT Employee Resource Group, MGH Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) and the Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO).

“Health Week is an excellent time for us to spotlight health care as it relates to LGBT employees, patients and their families,” says Marc Cella, chair of the resource group and a member of the Department of Surgery. “While inroads have been made on many levels, there is much work to be done regarding education, disparities in the delivery of care and protection of the basic rights of LGBT patients and their families, especially members of the transgendered community. The MGH LGBT Group remains committed to these efforts both through its role as a resource for our employees and its ongoing community outreach activities.”

Events included a screening of “Pedro,” a film about Pedro Zamora, a young man diagnosed with HIV who courageously dedicated his life to speaking out about his condition, as well as tables in the Main Lobby featuring information about LGBT health resources, access to health care and other topics.

A presentation, “Cross-Cultural Care: Caring for Transgender Patients,” on March 30 was co-hosted as part of the DSC/MAO film series. Alden M. Landry, MD, MPH, Aetna/DSC health care disparities fellow, welcomed guests and introduced a short film, “TRANSforming Healthcare: Transgender Cultural Competency for Medical Providers.”

Through stories of transgender individuals and their care providers, the 17-minute video explored the challenges transgender patients face when seeking and receiving health care. It provided several recommendations for eliminating these challenges – including creating a transgender-friendly environment, training staff at all levels about the specific needs of transgender patients and respecting confidentiality.

Following the screening, a panel discussion took place featuring Ruben Hopwood, MDiv, coordinator of the Transgender Health Program at Fenway Health; Pam Klein, RN, a nurse at Boston Health Care for the Homeless; Patricia Raney, MD, staff physician at Fenway Health; and Elizabeth Rivera-Valentine, community organizer and web designer at TransCEND, a new program of the AIDS Action Committee. Panelists offered their reactions to the film and discussed their respective programs and personal experiences related to health care for transgender patients.

For more information on the MGH LGBT Employee Resource Group, access www2.mass general.org/lgbt or email lgbtmgh@partners.org. For more information about the DSC, access www.mghdisparitiessolutions.org or email disparitiessolutions@partners.org.

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