Swedish is out front when it comes to providing quality and compassionate health care to patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

Connor Wesley, RN and Dr. Kevin Wang from Swedish joined New Day Northwest to talk about efforts Swedish is taking to support this community, and why having a week to build awareness for LGBTQ health concerns is important.

A key differentiation for Swedish, says Dr. Wang, is not only the priority of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, but also understanding the health disparities and inequities that people in the LGBTQ community face every day.

Growing up in a culture where Cisgender, heteronormative is dominant can make people in the LGBTQ community feel alone, and in a charged political environment, the discrimination that comes from that can fuel stresses that effect people emotionally and physically.

As a transgender person, patients can talk to Connor knowing that he has walked in their shoes, “I know how powerful it is to feel safe,” he says.

Part of the focus of LGBTQ Health Awareness week is to advance that conscientiousness within the medical community.

“All we can do is try and keep working on medicine, and making our education more trans-inclusive and more inclusive of educating new providers on how to support our LGBTQ patients,” says Connor.

When providing medical care to transgender people, Connor says, “The easiest thing to do is to ask somebody what their pronouns are, and then to use them, and ask them if they have a name they go by and use it. It’s sometimes difficult, but you’ve got to meet people where they are.”

Part of meeting people where they are is, says Dr. Wang, “to use language that is really more inclusive so that they don’t feel discriminated against or misgendered.”

Your language might be the deciding factor of whether or not a patient seeks treatment or not, and is key for medical professionals to understand.

“The front desk person that answers the phone may be the most important point of contact, because if they misgender you on the phone, you’re not going to feel safe walking into that building, “ says Connor.

Building trust and making sure patients feel safe is paramount to the folks at Swedish.

“I have the power to affect change for my community and for my patients,” says Connor, “You access healthcare at your most vulnerable point, and so I’m there to make them feel safe, in any way I can.”

This segment sponsored by Swedish.

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