Story by: Henry Winkelhake on October 22, 2020
LGBTQ kids face a higher risk of discrimination, bullying, harassment and family rejection.
For many, these burdens affect their health.
“LGBTQ individuals often encounter more obstacles compared with their peers,” said Suzanne E. Kingery, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist with Norton Children’s Endocrinology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. “These things lead to poor health outcomes through increased risk of anxiety, depression and suicide.”
Dr. Kingery has been at the forefront of efforts to combat health disparities in her role as director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Education (PAGE) program at Norton Children’s Endocrinology.
PAGE connects gender-diverse and transgender youth with pediatric endocrinologists, nurses, behavioral and mental health specialists and social workers. These professionals meet their patients’ unique needs through personalized, gender-affirming care plans.
Staff at the PAGE program clinic have the training and experience to identify risks and create a safe environment to provide supportive care. Their network of LGBTQ-affirming and inclusive providers emphasizes treating the whole patient, paying attention to physical, mental and emotional health through comprehensive care.
“Every time a patient leaves with a sense of hope and a renewed sense of spirit, I know we’ve done our job,” Dr. Kingery said. “Whether it’s updating our electronic medical records system to include preferred names and pronouns, training to ensure that all patient interactions are inclusive, or working to achieve national recognition as a health care equality leader, I’m very proud of the steps we’re taking for our patients in the LGBTQ community.”
If you are LGBTQ, it’s important to be open and honest with your medical provider so that we can work together to meet your health needs.
Norton Healthcare’s five hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute were again named LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This is the third year in a row that Norton Healthcare has been recognized with a top score of 100.
“At Norton Healthcare, respect for every person means providing all those we serve with quality health care,” said Russell F. Cox, president and chief executive officer. “It also means creating a positive work culture for our employees where they can truly be their authentic selves. This designation is a very powerful statement to our organization’s commitment to inclusion and service to all.”