Moffitt Cancer Center is highly motivated to continue improving 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. 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:
- Ranked on DiversityInc's 2022 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
- Ranked No. 10 on DiversityInc's 2022 list of Top Companies for Board of Directors.
- Leading Employer, Veteran Friendly Employer
- Leading Employer, National Organization on Disabilities
- Disability Matters, Steps-to-Success Award
- Human Rights Campaign, Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality for the 10th time in 2022
"Creating an environment where everyone feels like they belong helps cancer experts provide better care," says Cathy Grant, vice president, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer of Enterprise Equity. "Knowing more about the patient helps doctors develop the appropriate plan of treatment. Everyone deserves the best cancer treatment and care available, and all patients and their families deserve to feel welcomed during their treatment journey."
Moffitt’s inclusive policies helped secure another consecutive recognition as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality on the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index. This is the 10th time the cancer center has been named to the list. “As a community of healers, we are so proud of this designation because it highlights that our mission to prevent and cure cancer is for everyone, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or culture,” said Grant. "Everyone deserves the best cancer treatment and care available, and patients and their families deserve to feel welcomed and like they belong here during their treatment journey. It's an honor that Moffitt is recognized as a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community to come and receive the care they need and the respect they deserve."
Clinical Care and the LGBTQ+ Patient
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. 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 for 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 regional screening resource for gay men. In addition to the cancer center’s comprehensive anal cancer screening and treatment program, Moffitt clinicians specialize in disease-specific care of LGBTQ+ patients throughout the various cancer sites.
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, and the Florida Diversity Council presented him with the 2019 LGBT Leadership Award.
Beyond Care: Research and the LGBTQ+ Community
Moffitt understands the power of research to ignite progress and change. The cancer center’s 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 numerous research studies including i) identifying and eliminating health disparities among LGBTQ+ populations across the cancer care continuum, ii) addressing cultural competency and humility training for clinical care teams regarding equitable and personalized care of LGBTQ+ patients, and iii) establishing multi-institutional consortia designed to facilitate LGBTQ+ cancer research.
Some of the LGBTQ+ Research Group’s published works include:
- 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 that showed that most NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. lacked institutional policies, guidelines, and practices focused on patient-centered cancer care for LGBTQ+ individuals
- a study of a nationwide survey of oncologists NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers that showed oncologists have a high interest in receiving education regarding the unique health needs of LGBTQ patients and limited overall knowledge about LGBTQ health and cancer needs
- the development and subsequent pilot study of a web-based competency training curriculum for oncologists (COLOR Training) regarding LGBTQ+ cancer patients that was funded by the Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance (FACCA) and is a collaboration with the University Miami and the University of Florida.
- the first comprehensive narrative review regarding primary and secondary prevention and epidemiology of cancer, barriers to health care services, and health care practitioners' knowledge about specific issues pertaining to transgender and gender-diverse individuals
Current studies underway include:
- conducting a large, nationwide randomized trial to compare the effectiveness of the COLORS Training among oncologists in improving LGBTQ+-related knowledge, attitudes and clinical practices
- expanding the COLORS Training for Advanced Practice Providers, nurses, allied health professionals, social workers, and clinical psychologists
- developing novel and culturally sensitive methods to measure LGBTQ+ patient outcomes with the translational goals of improving short-term (e.g., patient satisfaction), intermediate-term (e.g., adherence/follow-up to treatment) and long-term (QOL and survival) LGBTQ+ patient outcomes
- comparing diagnosis, treatment, quality of life, psychosocial concerns, and cancer outcomes among LGBTQ+ cancer patients versus cisgender heterosexual cancer patients
Transgender Care Professional
Desirée Chachula, PhD, (she/her/hers), Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, supports a variety of results-oriented diversity and inclusion efforts at the center. Chachula 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.
Dr. Chachula has received specialty training and credential to equip her as a dedicated advocate for patients of various gender identities. Dr. Chachula provides workforce training on sexual and gender minority team member inclusion and patient care. Further, she advises gender identity and gender expression policy and process development.
Sean Powell, MSW, LCSW, CCM, OSW-C, is the Senior Director, Care Management, 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 Case Management, 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:
- American Cancer Society
- National Institutes of Health
- NIH LGBTQA+ Health
- It Gets Better Project
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources
- CDC - LGBTA Youth
- CDC - LGBTA Health
- CDC Women's Health
- Understanding the Health Needs of LGBT People, March 2016
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health: Healthy People 2020 from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US Dept. of Health and Human Services).
For Moffitt Team Members
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 that 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, Enterprise Equity and Moffitt Cancer Center.
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
- Foster relationships with community organizations and programs to volunteer and collaborate on events and become involved in pertinent issues within the 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