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 patients, visitors, students and employees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning and other sexual identities (LGBTQ+).
Leader in Health Care Equity
Rush has a history of being a champion for the LGBTQ+ community. Rush University System for Health 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:
- Hormone therapy
- Gender-affirmation surgery
- All other treatments related to gender transition
LGBTQ+ Policy at Rush
Rush’s LGBTQ+ policy statement identifies the many ways that all across the Rush System 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 spouses and 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 inclusive 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
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:
Our comprehensive center provides safe, accessible, affirming and multidisciplinary, comprehensive care from across the Rush System to those who identify as LGBTQ+. As part of that care, Affirm offers:
- Clinicians who care: Physicians at Rush recognize the unique health care concerns and needs of the LGBTQ+ community. They are dedicated to providing the best care possible in an inviting and open environment.
- Liaisons for LGBTQ+ health services: Rush University Medical Center has a licensed clinical social worker and patient navigators available to help LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, employees and students navigate resources across the Rush System and within the broader community.
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 LGBTQ People.” The course is designed to help increase awareness and educate employees on sexual orientation and gender identity. Other training available at Rush includes the following:
- The Center for Affiliated Learning (The CAL) also offers online training options, including an eLearning series focused on LGBTQ patient-centered care.
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- Training for clinicians: Rush hosted a Transgender Health Training Institute, a day of training at Rush University Medical Center to better prepare Rush clinicians to treat transgender patients. Workshops focused on helping caregivers become more familiar with the specific needs of transgender patients.
On-demand modules for clinicians and clinical staff
Transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) patients have unique health care needs as they experience significant health disparities compared to the general population. These needs and disparities may shift and expand in particular ways when intersecting with race, sexuality, age and accessibility.
These three comprehensive introductory courses address gender-affirming care strategies and treatment options. We also explore the established criteria used to diagnose gender dysphoria at varying ages in today’s health care system. The modules will help a range of clinicians and clinical staff treat TGD patients more equitably and effectively. Participants earn up to 1.5 CME/CNE/CE credits. Available for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, Continuing Nursing Education and Continuing Pharmacy Education, gender-affirming care modules include the following:
- Introduction to Trans-Affirming Care
- The Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis and Gender-Affirming Mental Health Care
- Gender-Affirming Care: Medical Management
Continued Focus on Best Practices
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, Rush’s LGBTQ+ Health Committee is working to bring the best LGBTQ+ practices to the whole Rush System. The committee is doing this in the following ways:
- Improving access to care for the LGBTQ+ community and licensed provider education includes the following initiatives:
- 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 LEAP Online (as described above), as well as specialized training in affirming LGBTQ+ practice for clinicians and frontline staff through in-person continuing education opportunities and web-based continuing education opportunities.
- Enhanced resources for the community include the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Rush and local communities about issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly those issues that can affect patient care.
- Enhancing education to include specific LGBTQ+ materials for Rush University students includes the following:
- Improving the Rush University student experience
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has presented data to describe sexual and gender minority health status for lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) youth, LGB adults and transgender adults in Chicago. Rush supports the city’s commitment to improve health equity among the LGBTQ+ population. This information can help Rush continue to serve the LGBTQ+ community. Read the whole CDPH report.
Chair, LGBTQ+ Leadership Council
Diversity Leadership Council
Employee Resource Groups
Rush University Medical Center
Co-chair, LGBTQ+ ERG
Co-chair, LGBTQ+ ERG
Rush Copley Medical Center
Chair, LGBTQ+ ERG
To learn more about Rush University’s LGBTQ+ Student Group, Rush Pride, click here.