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Commitment to LGBTQ Health Care

Rush pride

Equality is at the heart of Rush’s mission. We are dedicated to providing the best health care for the individuals and diverse communities we serve.

One important way we accomplish this mission is by maintaining a culture of respect, inclusion and equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ) patients, visitors, students and employees.

Leader in health care equity

Rush has a history of being a champion for the LGBTQ community. For the eighth consecutive year, Rush University Medical Center has been recognized as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey of how health care facilities in the United States treat LGBTQ patients and their families, as well as LGBTQ employees.

Fewer than 500 hospitals or health systems in the country have earned leader status out of nearly 5,700 hospitals nationwide.

A culture of inclusion

Rush’s commitment to equity of care for the LGBTQ community extends to all aspects of our institution — from patient care and clinical expertise to employment opportunities and employee benefits. Rush proudly provides the following:

  • LGBTQ health education for key staff members and clinicians.
  • Open and welcoming visitation policies and guidelines for same-sex partners and parents.
  • Patient and employee nondiscrimination policies that specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Comprehensive transgender health benefits for Rush employees and beneficiaries insured under the Rush health plan. Rush University Medical Center was the first hospital in Illinois to offer this coverage. The benefits include the following:
    • Counseling
    • Hormone therapy
    • Gender reassignment surgery
    • All other treatments related to gender transition

LGBTQ policy at Rush

Rush’s LGBTQ policy statement identifies the many ways that Rush is a welcoming and supportive institution for the LGBTQ community. Rush’s policy includes the following:

  • Nondiscrimination and harassment policies to prohibit discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ patients, visitors, employees and students.
  • Visitation policies that include domestic or civil union partners of the same or different sex.
  • Transgender health care services to patients, employees and students.
  • Medical decision-making policies that extend to any agent appointed by a patient to make health care decisions, including a same-sex partner or family member.
  • Facilities that include both gender-neutral and gender-specific restrooms, allowing people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
  • Respect for all patients’ wishes in matters of privacy and confidentiality, including our LGBTQ patients.

Clinical dedication

Rush understands the health care disparities that face the LGBTQ community, including access to care and a lack of knowledge and understanding among health care providers. We have made the following resources available to begin to address these disparities:

  • Clinicians who care: Physicians at Rush recognize the unique health care concerns and needs for the LGBTQ community. They are dedicated to providing the best care possible in an inviting and open environment.
  • Liaisons for LGBTQ health services: Rush has two licensed clinical social workers available to help LGBTQ patients, visitors, employees and students navigate resources within Rush and the broader community. Contact the liaisons directly for more information:
    • Sarah Gutierrez, MSW, LCSW, (312) 942-4986 - Transgender/gender non-conforming and pediatrics
    • Matthew Vail, LCSW, (312) 942-9888 - LGB adults and older adults
  • Training for clinicians and other employees: Rush offers LGBTQ competency training to all clinicians and other employees through a Leap Online self-enrollment course titled, “Achieving Health Equity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.” The course is designed to help increase awareness and educate employees on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Training for clinicians: Rush hosted a Transgender Health Training Institute, a day of training to better prepare clinicians at Rush to treat transgender patients. Workshops focused on helping caregivers become more familiar with the specific needs of transgender patients.

Always improving

While Rush is a leader in LGBTQ health care, we also know there is more work to do.

With the full support of Rush’s top executives, the Rush’s LGBTQ Health Committee is working to bring best LGBTQ practices to Rush. The committee is doing this in the following ways:

  • Improving access to care for the LGBTQ community and licensed provider education:
    • Inclusive policies: Rush has a number of policies in place to help improve access to care and equal treatment to LGBTQ patients, visitors, students and employees.
    • Training: Rush offers Human Rights Campaign training to all clinicians each year.
    • Education: Key Rush leaders have completed additional education to ensure that our values of inclusion and sensitivity are upheld consistently throughout Rush.
    • Institutional commitment: Rush has developed broad-based training for all employees available through LeapOnline (as described above), as well as specialized training in LGBTQ-affirming practice for clinicians and frontline staff through web-based and in-person continuing education opportunities.     
  • Enhancing resources for the community:
    • Resources: Inclusive resources to support and serve LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees are available in Rush’s Resource Centers and patient clinics.
    • Programs: Rush provides inclusive community programming through Rush Generations, a membership program for adults and caregivers that offers access to a wealth of information and resources geared toward health and aging.
  • Implementing transgender-specific improvements, such as the committee’s leadership in Rush’s decision to provide comprehensive transgender health benefits (described above).
  • Updating the electronic health record to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, as well as preferred names and pronouns.
  • Enhancing education to include LGBTQ-specific materials for Rush University students:
    • Over the last five years, Rush has significantly enhanced the LGBTQ components of the curricula in Rush Medical College and the Rush College of Nursing
    • Faculty from these colleges have explored opportunities for integrating LGBTQ content into broader interprofessional education initiatives and have collaborated on presentations at national meetings.  
  • Improving the Rush University student experience:
    • Rush Pride is an affinity group at Rush University that advocates for a supportive and tolerant environment for LGBTQ and straight members of the Rush community. The goal of the group is to educate both the Rush and local communities about issues affecting LGBTQ individuals, particularly those issues that can affect patient care.

Contact us

Christopher Nolan
Chair of the LGBTQ Leadership Council, Diversity Leadership Council
(312) 942-4812
christopher_nolan@rush.edu

Brandy Hatcher
Vice Chair of the LGBTQ Leadership Council, Diversity Leadership Council
(312) 942-6324
brandy_j_hatcher@rush.edu 

Katie Struck
Executive sponsor of the LGBTQ Leadership Council, Diversity Leadership Council
(312) 942-6886
katherine_e_struck@rush.edu