UC San Diego Health has received the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of health care facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
A record 906 health care facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey and 496 of those earned the “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation.
“It is an honor to once again be named a leader in LGBTQ health care. UC San Diego Health truly champions and cultivates a welcoming environment for all patients. Our world class care respects the diversity of the communities we serve,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health.
“The health equity initiatives that we have implemented ensure that every patient, staff member and visitor who walks through our doors is seen, heard and respected. This is a fundamental priority for us.”
The HEI evaluates and scores health care facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:
- Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
- LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
- Employee Benefits and Policies
- Patient and Community Engagement
UC San Diego Health received the maximum score in each section and earned an overall score of 100.
The region’s only academic medical center has practiced and affirmed its commitment to being a leader in health equity, including efforts such as:
- During the global pandemic, UC San Diego Health partnered with the San Diego Pride organization to hold free community vaccination clinics for the transgender and non-binary community.
- UC San Diego Health’s Owen Clinic cares for patients with or at risk for HIV, including rapid expansion of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention both within Owen Clinic and primary care clinics.
- UC San Diego Health’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Working Group is focused on updating staff training protocols and advancing new policies for interactions with patients and visitors, as well as updating fields in electronic medical records to properly identify patients during appointments.
- Medical care staff participate in monthly Gender Health Rounds to discuss best practices for gender-affirming care and review complex cases.
Crystal Cené, MD, MPH, joined UC San Diego Health in 2021 as the chief administrative officer for health equity, diversity and inclusion. She also serves as the associate chief medical officer for health equity. In this dual, complementary role, her focus is on creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment for students, trainees, faculty, staff and patients.
“Equity involves tailoring to what individuals and groups need and recognizing that not everyone needs the same thing. Individuals and groups start at different places and face different barriers and obstacles to health and health care. The LGBTQ community is not homogenous; instead, it is comprised of unique individuals with intersecting identities and different challenges,” said Cené.
“To me, this award acknowledges that we see the uniqueness of the individuals and their health needs within the LGBTQ community and are meeting them at the point of their need and their highest intention for healing.”
Another 251 facilities surveyed earned the “Top Performer” designation with scores between 80 and 95 points and at least partial credit in each section. With 82 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.
“LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including health care facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign.
“The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their health care providers and feel safe seeking services. Our HEI active participants are truly pioneering the health care industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice."
About UC San Diego Health
As the region’s only academic health system, UC San Diego Health is dedicated to delivering outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching. UC San Diego Health includes UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, all in La Jolla, as well as other primary and specialty practices located throughout Southern California. For more information, visit health.ucsd.edu.