By Steve Blanchard - October 16, 2018
October is LGBT History Month in the United States and Moffitt Cancer Center continues to update its policies and commitment to engage with and provide access to quality cancer care for the LGBTQ+ community. Most recently, the cancer center added its support to the ongoing effort to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida’s Civil Rights Act of 1992.
The support is newsworthy, but not surprising for the cancer center. Moffitt has been named an LGBTQ Healthcare Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index for the past seven years and continues to earn recognition for its strides in diversity and inclusion.
Moffitt’s ongoing mission is to prevent and cure cancer, and it recognizes that patients come in all forms and from all backgrounds, which means team members are expected to treat all patients with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
“Creating a comfortable environment helps cancer experts provide better care,” says Cathy Grant, senior director of Moffitt Diversity. “Knowing more about the patient helps doctors develop the appropriate plan of treatment.”
“Collecting gender identity and sexual orientation data is becoming routine for hospitals nationally,” explained Grant. “When it comes to collecting patient data, research suggests that offering an opportunity to self-disclose sexual orientation and gender identity information sensitively is ideal. That means a patient should be presented with the questions about gender identity or sexual orientation as early as possible in the continuum of care.
“The LGBTQ+ community faces significant health disparities, including disproportionate rates of tobacco, alcohol and drug usage, and increased rates of depression and anxiety. Availability of better data will allow health care providers to better serve the individual needs of LGBTQ+ clients.”
It’s important to remember, Grant adds, that LGBTQ+ team members also need support at Moffitt, which is why the cancer center offers Unity@Moffitt, a team member engagement network that offers LGBTQ+ team members and their allies a safe space. Through different diversity and inclusion initiatives, of which Unity@Moffitt is a part, Moffitt continues to educate all team members about LGBTQ+ issues and patient practices.
“We support our team members by providing guidance on how to respond during uncomfortable situations and ensure that we are equitable in applying our policies and procedures,” Grant said. “No matter who walks through the door, we want them to know we support inclusion for everyone.”
To learn more about Moffitt’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, click here