CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Medical University of South Carolina is expanding its resources for the LGBTQ+ community.
In two weeks, the first person to hold the position as Director of LGBTQ+ Health Services and Enterprise Resources at MUSC will begin the job. The current Executive Director for Alliance for Full Acceptance, Chase Glenn, will be serving in the new role at MUSC.
“At AFFA, we’ve been partnering with MUSC for years on helping to create a more inclusive health system,” Glenn said. “Watching that relationship progress and seeing all the different sorts of things that MUSC has been putting into place for a number of years, it’s exciting to see this next step. They’re obviously choosing to invest even further into creating LGBTQ inclusive care across their health system.”
Glenn says education is a priority in the role.
Part of the role will focus on providing education so health care providers are aware of issues affecting LGBTQ people. It will also include efforts between MUSC and employees who identify as LGBTQ.
LGTBQ advocates say some people will avoid seeking medical treatment from fear of being judged or not understood.
Glenn says an AFFA survey revealed that about 50 percent of the people said their doctors didn’t know their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If a provider doesn’t know this basic information...that’s a big piece of someone’s health history and how are they able to really treat them.” Glenn said. “I think a big thing is people go to see a doctor and they don’t necessarily feel like the doctor understands them or knows them really. They’re not asking the questions to give the patients the opportunity to share that information.”
The Executive Director of Gender Benders, Ivy Hill, says education is important. Gender Benders is a grassroots organization serving transgender and queer people in the southeast based in the upstate of South Carolina.
“Education for providers and frontline staff is just super important and really difficult to access,” Hill said.
Hill is also the Community Health Program Director for the Campaign for Southern Equality.
“People have had a lot of traumatizing experiences and accessing health care and that really deters folks from seeking out care when they need to,” Hill said.
Hill and Glenn say they’ve both been misgendered in health care settings.
“If you’re a medical care provider and you’re watching this and you’re like ‘Hey I really want to access training for myself or my team,’ we’re also happy to provide those trainings to folks.” Hill said.
Hill says people can access training resources at southernequality.org.
Glenn says he’ll be working to compile of list of inclusive healthcare provider recommendations for people to turn to.
Glenn says another area of focus is getting MUSC back on the Human Rights Campaign Healthy Quality Index. It’s a tool that evaluates policies and practices at health care facilities related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.
“MUSC received that rating several years ago, but we’re going to make sure we’re back on the list, and that we are coming in stronger than we even did in the past,” Glenn said.