National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week (March 21-25) exists to raise awareness of the unique health care disparities facing the LGBTQ+ community. This year’s theme, “Live out Loud,” encourages speaking openly about LGBTQ+ health – including discussing and raising awareness of mental health and trans health, and ending stigma through accessible, affirming, and inclusive healthcare services.
In honor of this recognition week, we spoke to Ansley Miller, MD, FAAP, Mission Health Chief of Staff and Pediatric Services Medical Director, about the importance of building awareness around LGBTQ+ health issues. She is also the Executive Sponsor of Mission Health’s LGBTQ+ Colleague Network and shares her vision for the positive impact this group can make:
“The LGBTQ+ community has unique needs when it comes to healthcare, and in order to deliver high-quality and compassionate care to this community, it is imperative to acknowledge the social stigma and discrimination they are at risk of experiencing. We want to improve outcomes in mental and physical well-being, reduce disease transmission and contribute to an overall improved quality of life for these individuals.
“As a physician, I am personally affected by the high rates of depression and suicide in the LGBTQ+ population and most especially amongst our youth. I am deeply passionate about addressing this and eager to help us provide a warm, welcoming environment for our LGBTQ+ patients.
“With the creation of our LGBTQ+ Colleague Network, I am excited to bring together members of our Mission Community who are committed to welcoming and supporting our colleagues, opening dialogue around LGBTQ+ health issues, and eliminating any barriers in delivering the care our LGBTQ+ patients need.”