Hippocrates wrote: “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”

That sentiment aptly describes the ways in which providers, patients, families and staff work together to make the UVM Medical Center a safe, inclusive and affirming organization for all, including our LGBTQ+ community.

We are excited to highlight our work and hope it illuminates the PRIDE we take in partnering with you for your care!

Changing Our Electronic Health Record System

For well over two years, we have worked on updating our electronic health record system. A critical component to this upgrade is a feature that allows patients to select a preferred name, gender identity and affirming pronouns. Throughout the development process, we worked in collaboration with our Transgender Youth Program Advisory Council, providers, staff and community partners at Outright Vermont.

We are thrilled to announce this upgrade goes live in the fall of 2019. We trust that it is another critical step in creating an affirming healthcare environment.

Providing Care With Dignity and Respect

We also understand the importance of evolving our understanding of what it means to provide care with dignity and respect. We are in the process of rolling out LGBTQ+ health training to our workforce. The training will roll out in stages, from a 101 training for everyone to an advanced health training for those who provide direct care.

We consulted with Rachel Inker, MD, and Leo Kline, AGNP, from the Community Health Centers of Burlington, and Samuel Lurie from Transgender Awareness Training and Advocacy to help us in this endeavor.

Partnering with Our Patients and Families

Creating opportunities to learn from and partner with our patients and families is vital to maintaining a culture of humility and inclusivity. “We value patients and families, and seek their participation in everything we do” is the guiding principle from which our patient and family-centered care program continues to grow and thrive.

One of our Patient/Family Advisors who works in active partnership with our Transgender Youth Program at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital shares:

“As the [Transgender Youth] Program grows, so does our invitation to include diverse voices and varied ways of participating in the work we do to support gender variant youth and their families, both in clinic and in the context of the larger community. Our Trans Youth Program Advisory Council partners with Outright Vermont as support for families beyond those in clinic, and we participate in the Translating Identity Conference at the University of Vermont. We have been partnering on a variety of projects including presenting at staff trainings, Pediatric Grand Rounds, updating informational material for patients, and creating social media forums for caregivers.

One of the things that makes our Advisory Council inclusive is that there are opportunities for varied and flexible participation. Advisors can participate in person, over the phone or by email, and the variety of projects allows each member to use their unique skills towards the common goal of improving the intersectional care for gender variant youth and their families.”

Actor-activist George Takei has said, “We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.” This September, staff, patients, families, and friends of UVM Medical Center will once again celebrate with our community by marching in the PRIDE parade. This marks our fourth year of presence at the event!

We thank you for taking the time to celebrate PRIDE and the continued commitment of our care teams, staff, patients and families in building a loving, inclusive, care environment for all.

Charlotte Safran is the Patient and Family-Centered Care Coordinator at UVM Children’s Hospital and believes fiercely in the goodness of humans.

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