Embracing diversity in health care: Banner is unlocking the power of inclusive care for the LGBTQ+ community
Dr. Varun Monga and Dr. Venkata Buddhavarapu, alongside other clinicians in the United States, have co-authored a transformative publication titled “Gender Inclusive Care Toolkit for Hospitals” in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas. This toolkit paves the way for a new era in patient care, setting a gold standard for gender inclusivity in medical practice to address disparities in health care. Through a rigorous examination of care principles and practical applications, Drs. Monga and Buddhavarapu and the collaborative team provide insights and resources that can be adapted across various health care settings.
“Incorporating a comprehensive LGBTQ+ needs and gender inclusive care toolkit, The Lancet Regional Health – Americas article underscores the vital steps hospitals must take to provide equitable and compassionate health care for all,” said Dr. Gagandeep Dhillon, Assistant Medical Director at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center hospital, the lead author of the article.
Another co-author, Dr. Harpreet Grewal from Sacred Health Hospital, Florida, said, “In the 21st century, health care must be at the forefront of embracing diversity and inclusivity. Our ‘Gender Inclusive Care Toolkit for Hospitals’ is not just a guide; it’s a pledge to create an environment where every patient is acknowledged, respected, and cared for as they truly are.” He continued, “This initial work symbolizes our commitment to empathy, and patient-centered excellence.”
The article emphasizes the importance of addressing gaps in health care quality that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ individuals due to factors like biases and inadequate provider preparation. The doctors also discussed practical strategies health care systems can adopt to cultivate a more inclusive environment, such as offering specialized training for health care professionals and implementing unbiased policies. By tackling these important concerns and offering feasible solutions, authors underscore their commitment to providing a fairer and more equitable health care for everyone.
Dr. Varun Monga, co-author on manuscript and a psychiatrist from Phoenix-based Banner Health said, “Our aim is to provide guidelines to help bridge the gap in health care access and ensure that every individual regardless of their sexual identity or gender orientation receives the comprehensive care they deserve.”
Dr. Venkata Buddhavarapu, co-author, and an Internal Medicine physician at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona mentioned, “Health care systems may not be equipped to deal with the nuances that come with caring for the LGBTQ+ patient population. Our toolkit may help strategize an effective method to improve awareness.”
Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 33 hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits and patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.