UChicago Medicine earns top score as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader badge for Healthcare Equality Index

For the eighth 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 May 7 in the 16th 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.

“Being recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader is a reflection of UChicago Medicine’s mission to provide superior healthcare that is compassionate and that recognizes each patient’s dignity and individuality,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, UChicago Medicine’s Senior Vice President for Community Health Transformation and Chief Equity Officer. “We are grateful for this honor and are ever-committed to advancing health equity for the diverse patient populations that we serve.”

UChicago Medicine has demonstrated its focus on health equity through LGBTQ+ inclusive paid family leave policies, promotion of HIV specific services, and by encouraging staff training in patient non-discrimination.

Health equity initiatives have helped UChicago Medicine staff capture 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 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.

“We know that LGBTQ+ people – especially our trans family – continue to face discrimination in the doctor’s office,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign.No one should have to put their health on the backburner for fear of mistreatment in a healthcare facility or by their doctor.”

A record 1,065 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2024 HEI survey. Of that group, 384 of those earned an “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.