June 11, 2024

Pride Month spotlight: how ODI’s LGBTQ+ Faculty Association promotes inclusive healthcare at UAB year-round

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The Heersink School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion LGBTQ+ Faculty Association wants to wish you a happy Pride Month.

The worldwide commemoration of LGBTQ+ culture and rights kicked off on June 1 with events around the globe celebrating progress made in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.

Pride Month dates back to June 28, 1969, when activists and allies united against police discrimination during the Stonewall riots. The inaugural Pride marches took place a year later, commemorating this pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history.

It wasn’t until June 1999 that Pride Month received official recognition when President Bill Clinton designated it as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. In 2011, President Barack Obama expanded the observance to include the entire LGBTQ+ community.

Today, Pride Month is celebrated through a variety of diverse events that highlight love, acceptance, and achievements made within the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride in Medicine

The LGBTQ+ Faculty Association is critical in the support and development of faculty within the Heersink School of Medicine. By providing mentorship and advocacy, the group helps UAB continue to advance knowledge in LGBTQ+ issues and health disparities.

Under the leadership of Rodney Tucker, M.D., MMM, the LGBTQ+ Faculty Association is facilitated by 20 faculty members from various departments dedicated to fostering a safe environment for all faculty members. The association regularly hosts webinars and presentations on new research in LGBTQ+ healthcare, as well as social events to create a sense of belonging among faculty members.

On Friday, June 7, 2024, the Faculty Association hosted a meeting featuring special guest speakers, Michael Danielewicz, M.D. and Korijna Valenti, Ph.D., who addressed the unique healthcare needs of older LGBTQ+ adults.

Danielewicz serves as the inaugural Director of Pride Care at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging, a first-in-the-nation program dedicated to fulfilling several needs for older adults in the LGBTQ+ community. This program includes a safe environment for screenings, gender-affirming care, support around HIV and aging, as well as connections to community-based programming in Philadelphia. Danielewicz hopes to inspire other organizations to replicate similar programs across the country.

Valenti, who holds a joint appointment in the Heersink School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care and the UAB School of Public Health, shared insights from her extensive research on LGBTQ+ healthcare. Her work spans diverse topics such as end-of-life care for LGBTQ women, palliative care professionals’ perceptions of communication with sexual and gender minority patients, and the dynamics of LGB widows’ relationships following their partner’s passing. Valenti’s research, coupled with Danielewicz’s presentation on his first-in-the-nation program, highlights the critical need for inclusive research and healthcare services for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The LGBTQ+ Faculty Association would like your feedback on future meetings, webinars, and social meetups. To assist in shaping a more inclusive and supportive environment for all faculty members, please provide feedback in this quick survey.

More than a month: advancing diverse healthcare year-round

The LGBTQ+ Faculty Association is dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ healthcare equality and knowledge at UAB year-round, a commitment exemplified by UAB Medicine’s recognition as a 2024 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign. To earn this designation, healthcare facilities must demonstrate dedication to LGBTQ+ health by implementing LGBTQ+-responsive policies, training staff in LGBTQ+ health care, and communicating these policies to the public and staff members.

In the 2024 Healthcare Equality Index, UAB Medicine was one of only 384 healthcare facilities to achieve a perfect score of 100. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion played a crucial role in providing data to document Heersink School of Medicine’s policies and practices, which contributed to this remarkable achievement.

The LGBTQ+ Faculty Association welcomes all faculty interested in joining and advancing UAB’s knowledge of LGBTQ+ healthcare. For more information, contact Faculty Association Chair Rodney Tucker, M.D., MMM, at rtucker@uabmc.edu. Learn more about the LGBTQ+ Faculty Association here.