June is a month of celebration. Within it we have the start of summer, Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and Pride Month. Pride Month is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ culture. It’s a time to recognize the gifts the LGBTQ community has to offer, reflect on the challenges has had to overcome, and recognize all the work that remains in the fight for equality.
As a provider of healthcare to the Southern Illinois region, Shawnee Health Care understands the physical and emotional consequences that discrimination has caused for our LGBTQ patients. Our mission is “serving the needs of the underserved/vulnerable populations and designing programs and services which are culturally and linguistically appropriate,” and we strive to achieve this not just during Pride Month, but through every month.
A 2018 report published by the Keiser Family Foundation found that the LGBT community “experience(s) worse physical health compared to their heterosexual and non-transgender counterparts.” A few of the reasons for these health disparities include experiencing discrimination when accessing healthcare services and a lack of knowledge of the distinct healthcare needs of the LGBTQ community. This is particularly an issue for transgender individuals seeking healthcare. Our goal is to do better and remove those obstacles that prevent patients from all backgrounds from accessing healthcare services.
For our transgender patients, Shawnee Health Service offers an array of gender affirming services including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and counseling, as well as obstetrics and gynecological services. Our patient-centered team approach to healthcare includes access to Clinical Case Managers who work with clinicians and their patients to connect with other gender affirming entities that are able to provide additional medical services, such as gender affirming surgery or hormone blockers. Clinical Case Managers also partner with other social services that can assist with legal matters such as name changes and gender marker updates on birth certificates. Staff at Shawnee Health Service have participated in trainings offered by organizations such as The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center, Howard Brown Health, and Rush University Medical Center in order to ensure that we are providing culturally competent care and utilizing the most up-to-date guidelines when providing services to our LGBTQ patients and their families.
As your Health Home, the parent in us wants to remind you that if you go out to celebrate, stay hydrated, use sunblock, and if you are in a large group or have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19, please wear a mask. From all of us here at Shawnee Health Service “Happy Pride!”
You are seen, you are heard, and you matter – if you are struggling the Trevor Project has counselors available 24/7/365. You can reach someone by phone at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/, or through text by sending START to 678-678.
To learn more about our LGBTQ+ care visit https://www.shawneehealth.com/services/lgbtq-care/