Tuesday, July 27

How One Northwest Ohio Healthcare System is Striving Toward Better LGBTQ+ Care

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Northwest Ohio’s ProMedica healthcare system has over 35 patient and family advisory councils that help with improvement projects and guiding policy and clinical care. But, until this year, they did not have a group that specifically focused on the needs of LGBTQ+ patients.

The addition of this new system-wide LGBTQ+ focus is a step towards ProMedica’s goals of helping providers approach transgender patients with compassion and understanding, educating doctors and nurses about the importance of using a patient’s preferred pronouns, and providing support for LGBTQ+ youth.

“We can do a better job as an organization making sure we have information and education available,” says Greg Braylock, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at ProMedica. “This way, our providers can provide the kind of care they want to and meet the diverse needs of our patients.”

The Buckeye Flame spoke with Greg Braylock and Leslie Meyer, associate vice president of service excellence at ProMedica, about the hospital’s new LGBTQ+ Patient and Family Advisory Council, the vital work of educating health care providers and how members of the community can volunteer to get involved.

Can you talk more about this new LGBTQ+ advisory council?
Meyer: The LGBTQ+ Patient and Family Advisory Council is a group of community members who will come together monthly. They’re going to help guide our organization in making sure that we’re inclusive on all issues around sexual orientation, including celebrating Pride Month and a big clinical documentation project going on at ProMedica. So, we already have some things that we’re bringing to this group to get their insights.

We’re just so excited to be more inclusive. We really strive at ProMedica to incorporate the voice of the customer in all of the work we do, all of our decisions, all of our strategies. We know that this is one community that we just haven’t been seeking their voice as well as we could have.

Who will be involved in the group?
Leslie: We have two ProMedica employee co-chairs who are going to be leading the group. We’re also currently taking applications for people who would like to be members. Obviously, we can’t have everyone since we need to keep it to a manageable size. But we’re getting members started, and we’re going to be doing an orientation soon.

Are you still looking for community participation?
Meyer: Yes. Anyone who would like to participate as a volunteer in the group can email pfac@promedica.org or submit an application online. Right now, we’re doing interviews just to make sure it’s a good fit. We’d be happy to reach out to anyone that wants to apply.

Do volunteers need to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community?
Meyer: Yes. Though, interestingly, we have had a lot of parents of younger people who also want to be part of the group. So, we would also open to anyone who has a passion for or strong ties to the community.

How do you hope this group will help and support LGBTQ+ patients?
Braylock: I think a lot of times, it’s in the education. Leslie and I were just talking to one of our physicians, Dr. Rachel Parker, who specializes in care for LGBTQ+ patients. One of the things Rachel said was that most providers want to do a good job providing care for everybody. But physicians interact with a whole range of people, and there’s no way that you can be an expert in everything.

We can do a better job as an organization making sure we have information and education available. This way, our providers can provide the kind of care they want to and meet the diverse needs of our patients. Sometimes that’s using the correct pronouns. Sometimes it’s being able to say to our transgender patients, this isn’t a service that we have, but let me help find the best provider in our community.

What are your long-term goals for this advisory council?
Braylock: We’ve had a great response from our employees and our community around this specific group and topic. The overwhelming response we are getting means that people don’t feel we’re as responsive to their unique experiences, voices or needs. And that’s not just ProMedica. So being able to engage with the community to find additional ways to connect people, amplify their voices and find ways to improve our systems to be more inclusive for them—I think that’s one of the ultimate goals. 🔥

Ignite Action:

  • Anyone who would like to participate in ProMedica’s LGBTQ+ Patient and Family Advisory council can email pfac@promedica.org or submit an application online.

 

About Author

Lisa Galek

Lisa Galek is a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in Cleveland Magazine, Northeast Ohio Parent, Refinery29, Northern Ohio Live, and on, literally, thousands of American Greetings cards. She lives in the suburbs of Cleveland with her husband and three very clever daughters.

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