Public Release: 

Penn medicine hospitals recognized among 'leaders in LGBT healthcare equality'

Penn medicine program for LGBT health highlighted in healthcare equality index

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

(PHILADELPHIA) - The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Chester County Hospital were announced among the 2015 class of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" list, and the first to be announced in the organization's rolling admissions in 2015. The HRC Foundation is the educational arm of the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. Since the program's inception in 2013, the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health has implemented 25 LGBT health education and training initiatives, had six research papers published or in press, and six research presentations given on various LGBT health topics.

The Healthcare Equality Leaders were selected based on an annual survey identifying healthcare institutions that lead in efforts to offer equal care for LGBT patients by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

Penn Medicine hospitals earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families. The four hospitals standardized their patient and employee non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and provided LGBT patient care training for over 150 hospital staff in organization leadership, nursing management, patient relations, admitting, and human resources management.

"This is a major honor for our health system and reflects our commitment to advancing LGBT patient care, research, and education on our medical campus and beyond," says Baligh Yehia, MD, MPP, MSHP, assistant professor of Medicine and director of the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health. "We hope that our efforts send a ripple effect into our communities and other centers and help change conversations and actions around LGBT health."

The Penn Medicine hospitals were among a select group of healthcare facilities nationwide with this distinction. These facilities meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.

"Despite all the progress we've made, far too many LGBT people still lack inclusive and affirming healthcare," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality are helping to change that, and, in the process, making the lives of LGBT patients and their families better each and every day. LGBT people have a right to be treated equally in all aspects of their lives, and HRC celebrates Penn Medicine for its tireless work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all patients."

The Penn Medicine effort was spearheaded by the newly established Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health. Penn Medicine is the first academic medical center in the Northeast -- one among just a handful of academic medical centers in the U.S. -- to launch a program across multiple professional schools and affiliated hospitals to improve the health of LGBT individuals. Health disparities and inequalities within this community have become increasingly recognized, but are rarely addressed in today's health care settings.

With more than 1.5 million members and supporters, the HRC is the largest civil rights organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare facilities resources to help provide equal care to LGBT patients, as well as assistance in complying with new regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2015, or to download a free copy of the report, visit http://www.hrc.org/hei.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $409 million awarded in the 2014 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2014, Penn Medicine provided $771 million to benefit our community.

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