Patient Care

UR Medicine a Leader in LGBT Health Care Equality

Apr. 7, 2016
Strong Memorial and F.F. Thompson Hospitals Earn National Recognition
UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial and F.F. Thompson Hospitals have recently been recognized as “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. 
Using a benchmarking tool called the Health Care Equality Index, the HRC Foundation annually surveys health care organizations across the country about their inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and health care employees.  
Both Strong and F.F. Thompson earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria, demonstrating a high commitment to providing equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families.
“This is a recognition that reflects our ongoing commitment to ensuring that LGBT individuals receive the quality health care and respect that they deserve,” said Linda H. Chaudron, M.D., M.S., URMC associate vice president and senior associate dean for Inclusion and Culture Development. “Not only are we working collaboratively across disciplines to eliminate any challenges they may face, but we have a rich history of developing new ways to address their specific health care needs and concerns in the most affirmative, sensitive way.”
John P Cullen, Ph.D., director of Diversity and Inclusion for URMC’s Clinical & Translational Science Institute and coordinator of outreach for the Susan B. Anthony Center, says that within the Rochester region, nearly 7% of people self-identify as lesbian, gay or bi-sexual, which is about twice the national average of other cities.
“As the largest medical center in the area, we have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve in education, building awareness, and creating new ways to serve this population,” says Cullen. “It is a source of pride that there is greater understanding across the organization, and that the unique needs of the LGBT population are more front-of-mind and integral to everyday conversations.”
Some of the core criteria that helped earn Strong and F.F. Thompson the 2016 HRC recognition include:
  • Having a patient non-discrimination policy that includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”
  • Providing equal visitation rights to LGBT patients and their visitors
  • Having an employment non-discrimination policy that is fully LGBT inclusive
  • Providing approved training in LGBT patient-centered care for key staff members
Strong Memorial offers a Web page specifically for LGBT patients.  In addition to detailing the policies and rights listed above, the Web page provides information about health care proxies, medical records, related Web sites, and hospital contact information. 
New This Year:
The Medical Center’s Health Information Management team is piloting—in three clinics—a newly created method to voluntarily capture sexual orientation and gender identity within patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs). The effort aims to better support health care teams in providing the most appropriate preventive and health maintenance care.
The Medical Center is embarking on a campus-wide initiative to designate more “all-gender” bathrooms
For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2016, or to download a free copy of the report, visit