Moffitt Cancer Center’s Commitment to the LGBTQA Community

GLAAM at Moffitt 

From left, Kira Hulse, Clinical Research Protocol Analyst and JoEllen Warnke, Manager, Nursing Professional Development.

Moffitt Cancer Center is highly motivated to improve standards of care for our LGBTQA patients and to conduct research studies that will benefit the LGBTQA community worldwide. Moffitt’s commitment to diversity in patient access to care and research, in our workplace, and in vendor relations includes supportive LGBTQA policies and team member training on issues unique to the LGBTQA community.   

This commitment to diversity is embedded in our culture and demonstrated in the daily work of cancer center team members. Our commitment is reflected by the numerous awards earned:

  • Named a 2017 Business of Pride by Tampa Bay Business Journal for its commitment to advancing LGBTQ equality in the workplace
  • Ranked the No. 4 health care facility on DiversityInc’s  2017 Top Hospitals & Health Systems list, tracking the nation’s top companies when it comes to hiring, retaining and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT and veterans 
  • Designated as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation – for the six consecutive years

HEI Award 2018Dr. B. Lee Green, vice president of Diversity and Community Relations and senior member, Health Outcomes and Behavior, shares Moffitt’s pride in its work to ensure quality care for all. “It should not matter who has cancer,” explains Dr. Green. ”What matters is that they are treated in a way that they deserve to be treated.  We understand that in some cases people in the LGBTQA community may be treated differently.  This is unfortunate and we strive to ensure that this does not happen at Moffitt.  Our programs are designed to educate and train our providers and team members on serving this community with the highest quality of care.  We want to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable getting their care and treatment.  

Clinical Care and the LGBTQA Patient    

Dr. Sanchez
Dr. Sanchez

Moffitt’s care practices for LGBTQA patients have been developed in line with our mission to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. This includes clinics dedicated to the unique needs of our LGBTQA patients, and specialized physicians like Julian Sanchez, MD, Chief of Moffitt’s Colorectal Surgery Program. Dr. Sanchez is double board certified in general surgery as well as in colorectal surgery. He is one of the few providers in the Tampa area to specifically treat patients with pre-cancerous lesions of the anus with high-resolution anoscopy. His large clinical practice specializes in anal cancer treatment and screening, especially gay men who are at higher risk for anal dysplasia. Dr. Sanchez has developed partnerships with community health clinics, primary care providers and local health departments to extend the reach of the anal dysplasia clinic, becoming a local screening resource among gay men.

Dr. Sanchez is also an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, where he helped to develop a curriculum for LGBTQA health education of medical students. The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce named Dr. Sanchez its 2017 Business Person of the Year. He is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges national committee for LGBTQA education, and he has lectured locally and nationally on LGBTQA health issues with special emphasis on LGBTQA cancer prevention and care. Dr. Sanchez represents Moffitt on the Equality Florida/Equality Means Business Advisory Board and participates in Moffitt research studies investigating health disparities among LGBTQA patients to establish national guidelines for cancer care and screening.

Beyond Care: Research and the LGBTQA Community    

Dr. Schabath
Dr. Schabath

Moffitt understands the power of research to ignite progress and change. Its Miles for Moffitt community fundraising events support important programs including the LGBTQA Miles for Moffitt Research Group led by Dr. Matthew Schabath. This group is actively involved in identifying both barriers and facilitators of cancer prevention, control and survivorship services to the LGBTQA population through a series of research studies.   

The LGBTQA Miles For Moffitt Research Group’s published works include:    

    • a commentary on the need for patients to disclose sexual orientation and gender identity and for healthcare settings, particularly oncology institutions, to create safe places and spaces for this disclosure
    • the first comprehensive review and synthesis of published literature on LGBTQA and cancer incidence, mortality, quality
      of life, and survivorship issues – which appeared in one of the nation’s most influential peer-reviewed publications    

Among current studies underway, two are based on:    

    • a 41-item survey regarding health care experiences of LGBTQA persons, which was developed in partnership with Equality Florida
    • a nationwide survey of oncologists at National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers about knowledge, attitudes, and practice behaviors regarding LGBTQA cancer patients    

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Steering Committee

Moffitt’s Cultural and Linguistic Competence Steering Committee (CLCSC) is the chief driver of cultural competence vision, strategy and execution at the cancer center. The CLCSC is represented by a cross-section of key Moffitt stakeholders poised to add significant value and insight in deepening the practice of cultural and linguistic competence at Moffitt. The committee is comprised of physicians, nurses, patients and senior executives and the chair of the committee is a surgical oncologist, specializing in breast cancer.  The Committee’s aim is "to develop a roadmap/strategic plan to identify, address, evaluate, and monitor disparities in care." Ensuring equity of care and outcomes across all disease areas and all demographic groups, including race, gender, ethnicity age, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, is the goal of the CLCSC.

Transgender Care Professional

Desiree Chachula
Desirée Chachula

Desirée Chachula, Ph.D. (ABD) SHRM-SCP
Diversity & Inclusion Specialist
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers 

Desirée Chachula is the Diversity & Inclusion Specialist for Moffitt Cancer Center. In this role Desirée blends a variety of results-oriented diversity and inclusion efforts and provides leadership and subject matter expertise on: workforce diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competency, health disparities, team member engagement, training and education, publication development, external benchmarking, policy development, grant writing and strategies that create a welcoming and inclusive workplace climate and compassionate and culturally competent healthcare facility. 

In August 2017, Desirée became a certified Transgender Care Professional from the International Transgender Certification Association. This credential equips her as Moffitt’s dedicated advocate for transgender patients. In this role, Desirée provides workforce training and education on transgender patient and team member inclusion. Further, Desirée advises gender identity and gender expression policy and process development and coordinates Moffitt’s Healthcare Equality Committee whose purpose it is to address and promote the resolution of healthcare equality, concerns and dilemmas integral to patient care in clinical practice for transgender patients.

Additional Helpful Information    

Moffitt Cancer Center crafts its Patient Education materials as clinically-focused documents related to Moffitt-specific procedures, skills, diagnoses, symptom management written for all patients – regardless of the patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 

For more information related to LGBTQA patients, here are links from reputable organizations: