We have recently seen a wave of discriminatory legislation aimed at LGBTQ communities — and particularly transgender people — in America. LGBTQ people continue to face mistreatment and health disparities at a disproportionate rate, and health care is one of the primary vehicles for non-medical professionals to codify discriminatory practices.
The unfortunate reality is that EMS is no exception to this prejudice. A survey of U.S. EMS clinicians conducted by M Health Fairview EMS found that 40% of respondents would not seek out education on this topic if it was available — and 6.3% would not do so even if it were mandatory. But as EMS clinicians dedicated to providing equitable and inclusive care for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, we must come together to fight this deeply worrying trend for our patients, colleagues, and communities.
In this light, we have worked with our partner Prodigy to make Dr. Timothy Hong’s NAEMSP 2023 Annual Meeting session, “LGBTQ: Patients, Personnel, and Colleagues,” available for free with CME. Dr. Hong’s presentation provides an overview of challenges faced by LGBTQ patients, describes how providers can be more inclusive to patients and colleagues alike, and calls for further research and advocacy.
If you did not attend Dr. Hong’s session in Tampa, we urge you to watch the recording and begin conversations in your communities. As practitioners of EMS medicine, we have a unique opportunity to influence change and help create a more equitable and just healthcare system for all patients. Be the force of change at your agency, mitigate uncertainty through education, and initiate important conversations on how your agency fosters and maintains an inclusive environment for the LGBTQ community.