Supporting LGBTQ+ Community Health – Why it Matters

By: Renown Team

June 04, 2021

Sneakers matching the colors of the LGBT rainbow flag, or gay pride flag

Renown Health has long supported northern Nevada’s LGBTQ+ community Pride events with sponsorship, and we’ve collaborated with local and regional LGBTQ+ organizations as an ally. Renown’s Pride Committee works to deepen and broaden our external and internal efforts around LGBTQ+ community engagement, advocacy, and healthcare issues related to sexual and gender minorities, which is part of the greater Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts Renown is undertaking.

According to Harvard Chan School, data shows that nearly a sixth of LGBTQ+ adults feel they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, this brings to light the important need for education within the healthcare setting. Renown Health is bridging the gap for our LGBTQ+ population, and we know more work needs to take place in order to become an inclusive organization.

Below are a few ways we’re working on improving our response to LGBTQ+ needs, and celebrate, respect and honor our diversity by being inclusive.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee was formed to heighten the awareness and develop a plan on how to better serve all of our diverse populations, including our LGBTQ+ patients. As the largest healthcare provider in northern Nevada, we knew that we could do a better job. The subcommittee provides us a forum to discuss ideas and develop plans to provide better care to these populations.

Updated Medical Records with Preferred Name and Pronouns

Of course healthcare is personal. We meet patients at their most vulnerable states. And relating to every person by the correct pronoun shows we respect their gender identity. A new medical records update supports our doctors, nurses and care team in capturing this vital information. We are now able to capture every person’s preferred name, sex and sexual orientation to better care for them.

Kathleen Zaski BSN, RN, Manager of Clinical Informatics and IT Applications at Renown explains why this is so important.

“Your name and identity are core to who you are as a person, and here at Renown, we aim to take care of you as a whole person and to provide the highest level of quality care to our community – all while ensuring the experience is exceptional and tailored to the individual.

In other words, having the patient’s preferred name and pronoun in the medical record is important to validate their identity, and show we care, in an already high stress environment. Specifically, giving our providers easy access to the patients preferred name and pronoun in the medical record, allows them to properly address their health concerns. This also helps the health care provider foster a closer relationship with the patient. Studies have found this actually increases the quality of care by creating a more open and comfortable environment.”

Gender Neutral Restrooms

Mitch Harper, Senior Program Development Manager at Renown, recognizes there’s still so much more to improve upon in becoming an inclusive organization.

“At the end of the day, it’s about creating a safe and welcoming environment for our community and our employees. Access to basic human services shouldn’t be contingent on an individual’s skin color, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or beliefs.

Ensuring that private restrooms are equally available to everyone on our campus is just one way we can provide a more inclusive, caring space for the people we serve.”

Updated restroom locations:

  • Roseview Tower: 10
  • Sierra Tower: 14
  • Tahoe Tower: 14

Helping to Lead and Influence Change

Sean Savoy, Manager of Spiritual Care at Renown

"The foundation of spiritual care is compassion – being with people in need by caring, supporting, and showing empathy, and promoting a sense of well-being. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community informs that deep sense of compassion and empathy in a very special and unique way. Our human value, social validity, the very reality of who and what we are, even our right to exist, love and just be, are often called into question. This, in turn, can cause many of us to question ourselves and wonder about our self-worth. This experience should engender compassion and empathy so that we can better recognize, listen to and meet others’ needs to help them achieve inner peace, explore coping strategies to overcome obstacles during illness or crisis, and even find new balance by re-conceptualizing themselves in the context of health and illness. I have found that the intersectionality of my gay and spiritual selves has been a blessing in my life."

Matthew Maloy, Team Lead Applications Specialist at Renown

“I am a Team Lead Epic analyst in the IT department that is responsible for clinical based workflows for ED, Trauma, and Critical Care and have worked at Renown for 15 years.

Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community influences my daily work by ensuring the Electronic Health Record reflects best practices such as giving clinicians the ability to document a preferred name, and displaying that throughout the medical record for consistency. Having the ability to influence decisions that move our community toward human value for all of us is a priority in my daily work.”

Our Mission

Renown Health’s mission is to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve, including the LGBTQ+ community. We continue to build relationships to improve care, fostering better health outcomes for ALL of our patients by creating a more inclusive health system.