Moffitt Cancer Center’s Commitment to the LGBTQ+ Community

Moffitt Unity at St. Pete Pride

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

HEI Leader 2018This 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:

  • Ranked the No. 4 health care facility on DiversityInc’s  2018 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), Human Rights Campaign Foundation – for the seventh consecutive year
  • Recognized by the American Hospital Association as an Equity of Care Honoree
  • Named a 2018 Business of Pride by Tampa Bay Business Journal for its commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace
  • Recipient of a 2018 Business of Pride Ally award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal for Moffitt Diversity’s Senior Director Cathy Grant, acknowledging her ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace
  • Received the Florida Diversity Council’s Excellence Award for Healthcare Diversity, due in part to an innovative organizational culture with an unfailing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community

Dr. B. Lee Green, vice president of Diversity and Public Relations and senior member, Health Outcomes and Behavior, shares Moffitt’s commitment in its work to ensure quality care for all. “It should not matter who has cancer 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 LGBTQ+ 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 who enters our doors feels comfortable getting their care and treatment.”  

Clinical Care and the LGBTQ+ Patient

Dr. Julian Sanchez
Dr. Sanchez

Moffitt’s care practices for LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ patients, and specialized physicians like Julian Sanchez, MD, chief of Moffitt’s Colorectal Surgery Program. 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 precancerous 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. 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.

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 LGBTQ+ health education of medical students. The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce named Sanchez its 2017 Business Person of the Year.


Beyond Care: Research and the LGBTQ+ 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 innovative research including the LGBTQ+ Research Group led by Matthew Schabath, PhD. This group is actively involved in identifying barriers and facilitators of cancer prevention, control and survivorship services to the LGBTQ+ population through a series of research studies.   

Some of the LGBTQ+ Research Group’s published works include:    

    • a commentary on the need for patients to disclose sexual orientation and gender identity and for health care settings, particularly oncology institutions, to create safe places and spaces for this disclosure
    • the first comprehensive review and synthesis of published literature on LGBTQ+ and cancer incidence, mortality, quality of life, and survivorship issues – which appeared in one of the nation’s most influential peer-reviewed publications
    • a study that showed clinical practice guidelines in oncology care are not integrating and addressing LGBTQ+ specific issues
    • a study the showed that most NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the US lacked institutional policies, guidelines, and practices focused on patient-centered cancer care for LGBTQ+ individuals

Current studies underway include:    

    • a nationwide survey of oncologists at NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers about knowledge, attitudes, and clinical practice behaviors regarding LGBTQ+ cancer patients    
    • developing a pilot web-based curriculum competency training for oncologists regarding LGBTQ+ cancer patients that was funded by the Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance (FACCA) and is a collaboration with University Miami and University of Florida

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 includes physicians, nurses, patients and senior executives; 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

Desirée Chachula, PhD, (ABD) SHRM-SCP, the Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Moffitt, supports a variety of results-oriented diversity and inclusion efforts at the center and provides leadership and subject matter expertise on: workforce diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competency, health disparities, team member engagement, training and education, and strategies that create a welcoming and inclusive workplace climate and a compassionate and culturally competent healthcare facility. 

Desirée Chachula, Ph.D.
Desirée Chachula, Ph.D.

In August 2017, Chachula 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, Chachula provides workforce training and education on transgender patients and sexual and gender minority team member inclusion. Further, she advises gender identity and gender expression policy and process development.

LGBTQ+ Ombudsman

Sean Powell, MSW, LCSW, CCM, OSW-C, is Director of Social Work and Patient Support Services for Moffitt Cancer Center.  Since coming to Moffitt, he has provided training to patient-facing clinicians on the barriers faced by LGBTQ patients with a cancer diagnosis in the health care system. He serves on the Cultural and Linguistic Competency Committee which ensures equal access for LGBTQ patients at Moffitt, and is an active contributor to UNITY@Moffitt, Moffitt’s Team Member Engagement Network group for LGBTQ employees.

Sean is responsible for administrative and clinical oversight of the Social Work and Chaplaincy Care departments, Tobacco Cessation, Arts in Medicine, and lodging. Sean’s clinical interests include end of life care, issues faced by LGBTQ individuals after a cancer diagnosis, and issues facing long-term cancer survivors.

Sean earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Master of Social Work degree from Radford University.   He possesses board certifications in oncology social work and clinical case management from the Association of Oncology Social Work and the Commission for Case Management Certification, respectively. 

For assistance, please contact Sean at (813-745-8407).

Additional Helpful Information    

Moffitt 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 LGBTQ+ patients, here are links from reputable organizations:    

For Moffitt Team Members

The Moffitt Cancer Center supports an environment that values and fosters diversity and growth opportunities for its employees.  We are pleased to offer employees the opportunity to join or establish and operate a Team Member Engagement Network (TMEN). These are voluntary, employee-led and created networking groups that have the cancer center's support to meet.  Networks organize and engage in activities which focus on encouraging a positive environment throughout the cancer center and also support the cancer center's Employer of Choice and diversity goals. Additionally, Networks serve as a link between employees, Moffitt Diversity and the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Unity@Moffitt
Among other roles, Unity@Moffitt promotes cultural awareness of the LGBTQ+ community at Moffitt.

TMEN missions and activities focus on targeted characteristics/dimensions of diversity (age, mental/physical ability, race, ethnicity or LGBT sexual orientation).  TMEN membership is not limited or defined by the focus of the Network. All Networks are open to membership by all employees. 

Unity@Moffitt is the Moffitt TMEN for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning team members and their allies. Membership for UNITY@Moffitt is not based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Unity@Moffitt was formerly known as GLAAM (Gay and Lesbian Alliance At Moffitt). Its role is to:

  • Promote cultural awareness of the LGBTQ+ community at Moffitt
  • Promote Moffitt as an Employer of Choice through outreach to the Tampa Bay LGBTQ+ community
  • Educate the LGBTQ+ community about cancer risk, screening and prevention and Moffitt’s exceptional and non-discriminatory healthcare
  • Continuously educate Moffitt team members about the importance of diversity while providing a safe space for colleagues who are sexual or gender minorities
  • Schedule and promote social activities both on and off Moffitt property to encourage dialogue, networking and friendships among those who value and celebrate diversity
  • Offer professional development opportunities that are specific to the needs of the LGBTQ+ workforce at Moffitt