UChicago Medicine earns top score as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader

Healthcare Equality Index: LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader. From the Human Rights Campaign, 2022.

For the seventh consecutive time, the University of Chicago Medicine has earned the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the education arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

The designation, announced March 28 in the 15th edition of the HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), recognizes UChicago Medicine's policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) patients, visitors and employees.

The HEI’s evaluation criteria centered on the following areas for the top designation:

  • Foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care
  • LGBTQ+ patient services and support
  • Employee benefits and policies
  • Patient and community engagement

UChicago Medicine received the maximum score in each section, earning 100 points overall.

“UChicago Medicine is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our diverse patient populations, and we appreciate this recognition of our leadership in providing safe, high-quality and compassionate LGBTQ+ care,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, UChicago Medicine’s Senior Vice President for Community Health Transformation and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “We will continue to advance programs and policies that are responsive to, and respectful of, the patients we serve, as well as of our colleagues and community members.”

UChicago Medicine has made recent improvements in capturing patients’ self-identification information, including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), pronouns and name.

To support this work, UChicago Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion developed a staff toolkit for collecting and recording SOGI information on the Epic and MyChart technology platforms. In addition, in 2021, the organization launched two patient-facing campaigns – “We Ask Because We Care” and “Diversity is a Core Value” – to highlight its commitment to LGBTQ+ patient services, with inclusive images representative of LGBTQ+ patients and their families.

Other new resources include an LGBTQ+ care & services website for patients and LGBTQ+ patient care information for employees on the organization’s intranet site.

In 2021, UChicago Medicine launched the Transgender Clinic for Affirmation and Reproductive Equity (CARE), which connects transgender and gender-diverse patients with trans-friendly doctors in different fields of medicine, such as surgery or endocrinology.

Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign, described the equality-leading hospitals as “truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”

A record 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey. Of that group, 496 of those earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.