The following testimonials come from several of the HEI 2012 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. These facilities were awarded the designation of “Leader” for meeting each of the HEI’s former “Core Four” criteria. They protect their LGBT patients and employees from discrimination, ensure equal visitation access for same-sex couples and same-sex parents through explicitly inclusive policies and provide staff training on LGBT patient-centered care.


The HEI: A Foundation for Enhancing Commitment to Diversity
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Leader: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Location: Boston, Mass.
Years rated in HEI: 4
Years as Leader: 2


At Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Faulkner Hospital (BW/F), we dedicate ourselves to providing the highest-quality care within a supportive environment that respects and embraces the diversity of all people. We are proud that our ratings in the Healthcare Equality Index reflect our dedication to these values.

Over the past year, we’ve strengthened our commitment to the LGBT community by increasing efforts to educate medical staff about the importance of LGBT patient-centered care. To ensure that current and future providers deliver the highest quality care to LGBT patients, we enhanced and expanded the LGBT training we provide to all staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Additionally, we collaborated with the LGBT employee resource group and with our colleagues at Harvard Medical School to support medical students rotating at our hospitals. We want to ensure that LGBT medical students have an enriching rotation experience and feel valued by the BW/F community.

In observance of LGBT Health Awareness Week, BWH and Faulkner organized health fairs – which were attended by hospital employees, healthcare providers and policymakers – to advocate for the healthcare needs of the LGBT community. As part of our celebration on National Coming Out Day, we hosted a workshop specifically dedicated to understanding how medical staff can better fulfill the healthcare needs of transgender communities.

Our LGBT employee resource group has been a driving force in creating an affirming environment for the LGBT community. This group has provided a welcoming place for staff to meet and advocate on behalf of LGBT employees, patients and their families.

This year, the group launched the “Be An Ally” campaign, a high-profile outreach program designed to educate and engage the entire hospital community about the importance of visibly showing support for LGBT patients, families and colleagues. We made small rainbow stickers available for employees to append to their ID badges, which are worn by every hospital employee at all times of the day. Through a series of internal news publications and events, we publicized the program, encouraging employees to put the sticker on their ID badge as a visible display of their desire to create a safe and welcoming environment for all hospital staff, patients and visitors. To date, we’ve given away thousands of these stickers. Among the first to don a “Be An Ally” sticker was our hospital President, Dr. Betsy Nabel, sending a strong message of support from the highest level of leadership. We are thrilled to see such a phenomenal level of participation and heartened by the campaign’s continued success. Finally, this June, the BW/F community will once again march in support of LGBT equality during the Boston Pride Parade.

We at Brigham and Women’s and Faulkner Hospitals are honored to take part in the HEI each year. We are proud of the people who work every day to create and sustain a safe, supportive and affirming environment for all members of the LGBT community. We thank the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for its efforts in preparing this index and the opportunity it provides us all to renew and strengthen our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion of the LGBT community across our organizations.

Kevin Ard, M.D., M.P.H.
Clinical and Research Fellow in Infectious Diseases; Co-Chair, BW/F LGBT & Friends Employee Resource Group

Tina Gelsomino, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Administrative Director, Office for Women’s Careers, Center for Faculty Development and Diversity; Co-Chair, BW/F LGBT & Friends Employee Resource Group

Michael Gustafson, M.D., M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer, Faulkner Hospital; Co-Executive Sponsor, BW/F LGBT & Friends Employee Resource Group

Michael Reney, M.B.A.
Chief Financial Officer, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals; Co-Executive Sponsor, BW/F LGBT & Friends Employee Resource Group

Strengthening Our Commitment to LGBT Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Christiana Care Health System

Leader: Christiana Care Health System
Location: Newark, Del.
Years rated in HEI: 2
Years as Leader: 1



Christiana Care Health System is comprised of two hospitals (more than 1,100 beds) and facilities offering a variety of outpatient and other services throughout northern Delaware and the surrounding area. With more than 10,400 employees, we are the largest private employer in Delaware.

The Healthcare Equality Index provided a roadmap to evaluate where we are with best practices for LGBT patient- and family-centered care and with workforce LGBT diversity and inclusion. LGBT inclusion is a fundamental element of our diversity, inclusion and cultural competency strategy. We recognize that how we value our staff directly relates to how we value our patients and their families.

The HEI has helped us align our policies and practices, making explicit what might have been implicit, so we now have a template for staff reference. We have also incorporated education in LGBT healthcare concerns and created new opportunities for learning. These include advance directives, an e-module on cultural competency, role-based experiential cultural labs and a stand-alone session, LGBT Considerations in Healthcare.

This year we are forming our first-ever LGBT employee resource group to promote an inclusive culture and further enhance Christiana Care as a great place to work. Our goal is to continue to learn how we can collaborate better with our colleagues and care for LGBT members of the community. Our commitment is also leading us to participate in the newly formed PRIDE Council of the United Way of Delaware.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion and patient- and family-centered care are central to our culture. They are key to our employees’ passion for improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We thank the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for its counsel in furthering our pursuit of these ideals, and commend all those behind the HEI’s important mission.

Janice E. Nevin, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer

Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President, System Learning

Creating an Extraordinary Healthcare Experience for LGBT Parents and Children
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Leader: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Years rated in HEI: 1
Years as Leader: 1


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center receives no shortage of recognition for the work that we do. Cincinnati Children's is ranked third in the nation among honor roll hospitals in the 2012 U. S. News & World Report survey of best children's hospitals. We rank in the top ten for all pediatric specialties surveyed. We recently won the 2012 RACE for Results award, given by the Children's Hospital Association to honor our exceptional results in decreasing patient mortality. What none of that recognition speaks to specifically is our commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Our participation in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Healthcare Equality Index gives us an opportunity to share our commitment to providing an extraordinary world-class healthcare experience to everyone who comes through our doors, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

When it comes to healthcare, we recognize that LGBT individuals have unique needs, especially in a pediatric setting. The Cincinnati Children's team is sensitive to the devastating impact that bullying and social isolation can have on out and questioning teens, leading them to make drastic decisions about their safety and well-being. As a children's hospital, it is important to us that we provide an environment in which both patients and parents that identify as LGBT feel welcomed, comfortable and respected. But it is essential that we do even more, that we serve as allies to our questioning patients as they navigate potentially challenging changes in their lives.

Cincinnati Children's recognizes the fundamental need of having a workforce as diverse as the patients we serve. Our LGBT employee resource group, EQUAL, our commitment to domestic partner benefits and many other programs contribute to making our organization an exceptional place to work for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

LGBT patients, families and employees are an essential part of the fabric that is Cincinnati Children's. Join us on our journey to become the preferred pediatric destination for LGBT patients, their families and the community.

James Page
Assistant Vice President
Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Honoring the Human Spirit throughout the Healing Process
Duke University Hospital

Leader: Duke University Hospital
Location: Durham, N.C.
Years rated in HEI: 4
Years as Leader: 1



Founded in 1930, Duke University Hospital is a full-service tertiary and quaternary academic medical center located in Durham, N.C.. and includes 957 licensed beds. Patients come to Duke University Hospital from all over the world to seek innovative care from a team of highly skilled physicians and staff dedicated to supporting our core value of caring for our patients, their loved ones and each other.

With that in mind, and in tandem with our value of diversity, we seek to provide our faculty and staff with information and training needed to provide every patient with the best Duke Experience every time. By offering diversity training, including sessions specifically about caring for LGBT patients, and by creating forums to allow patients and staff to share their own experiences and ask questions, we not only support our value of diversity but, most importantly, we offer our staff the resources and education needed to provide the best care for our LGBT patients and their families and loved ones.

We appreciate being included as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality because it reiterates what we have been saying: we are committed to supporting our diverse patient population through the healing process and to providing an optimal Duke Experience by not just caring for illness, but by providing culturally competent care in ways that honor the human spirit.

Kevin W. Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., FAAN

Translating LGBT-Inclusive Practice into Policy
Grady Memorial Hospital / Grady Health System

Leader: Grady Memorial Hospital / Grady Health System
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Years rated in HEI: 1
Years as Leader: 1


Since opening its doors to the first patient in 1892, Grady Memorial Hospital’s primary mission has been to provide quality healthcare to all who need it. Today, as one of the nation’s largest public health systems, Grady’s commitment to providing a caring, inclusive healing environment is even stronger.

From the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, Grady has been a leader in providing services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, as well as an advocate for their right to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. Internationally known for our comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS treatment, our dedication to serving Atlanta’s LGBT community and our philosophy of fair and equal treatment long ago extended beyond the walls of our AIDS center to encompass all of the health system’s services, including primary care, inpatient, emergency and level 1 trauma care.

To ensure that our philosophy of non-discrimination is transparent, our patients’ bill of rights clearly defines our policies of equitable, high-quality care for LGBT patients. That transparency also extends to our visitation policy for same-sex parents, caretakers, partners, spouses and significant others of LGBT patients.

But our policies mean little if they are not put into practice. To that end, the health system has engaged the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to provide staff training. We believe that ongoing education is the key to compliance and that our efforts to ensure the rights of all patients benefits Grady now and into the future.

John M. Haupert, FACHE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Grady Health System

The HEI: A Roadmap to LGBT Inclusion
Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center

Leader: Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center
Location: Greenville, S.C.
Size: 220 full-time employees
Years rated in HEI: 2
Years as Leader: 1



Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center is the largest healthcare provider in South Carolina. Over the years, it has evolved from a stand-alone hospital serving the city of Greenville to an academic integrated-delivery system with teaching and research programs serving the ten-county upstate region of South Carolina. GHS has five medical campuses, 11 specialty hospitals, 1,268 beds (including a 746 bed tertiary care center), nearly 11,000 employees, more than 130 physician practices and numerous academic programs, including an emerging school of medicine and college of pharmacy.

Although we are proud and honored to receive the distinction of being ranked as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality, GHS’s participation in the Healthcare Equality Index is not about getting recognition. Instead, partaking in the HEI has given us an opportunity to thoroughly examine our policies and practices to ensure that they mirror our aspirations to provide an inclusive and supportive healthcare environment for everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and families.

In essence, the HEI provides a roadmap for methodically transitioning to the use of more inclusive language in policies, patient bill of rights, patient education materials, websites and other key touch-points between hospitals and their patients. The HEI provides vital guidance in formatting electronic medical records systems so that we can track the information necessary to personalize care for our LGBT patients and families. We believe that making these transitions sends a powerful message to our employees and our patients about GHS’s commitment to diversity as well as providing high-quality, compassionate care for everyone.

Participation in the HEI has also helped to increase awareness of leadership’s role in assuring a welcoming healthcare environment. In particular, the training provided by the Human Rights Campaign for participants in the HEI has given healthcare providers like GHS the opportunity to bring important education about LGBT patient-centered care to a broad array of key leaders in a manner that is both cost-effective and easily accessible.

Perhaps the most important outcome of participation in the HEI, though, is the relationship that is established between the HRC Foundation and healthcare providers around the country. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation staff members provide invaluable consultation to hospitals who have committed to the journey of transforming care for their LGBT patients and families, and this guidance is priceless.

Kinneil Coltman
Director, Diversity and Language Services

Demonstrating an Appreciation of All Employees
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Inc.

Leader: Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Inc.
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Years rated in HEI: 1
Years as Leader: 1



Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Inc. takes great pride in being recognized as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index 2012 and the fact that we treat all patients, visitors and staff with the same high level of integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence, demonstrating our “I CARE” values, regardless of their age, race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic that contributes to the diversity of our community. In fact, under the leadership of our award-winning Chief Executive Officer, Mark O’Bryant, named “CEO of the Year” by the American Business Awards in 2011, we embrace the unique characteristics of each individual that create the wonderful tapestry of mankind.

Through the incorporation of same-sex domestic partners within our Family and Medical Leave policy and via the provision of spousal benefits to the partners of our dedicated colleagues, as well as the inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in our non-discrimination policies, even where not required by law, we demonstrate our commitment to, and appreciation of, all of our staff, recognizing their significant contributions to our organization and the greater Tallahassee community.

Steve Adriaanse
Chief Human Resource Officer

Improving Health by Advancing a Culture of Diversity, Inclusivity and Mutual Support
UW Medicine

Leader: UW Medicine
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Years rated in HEI: 3
Years as Leader: 2


At UW Medicine, we believe that advancing a culture of diversity, inclusivity and mutual support is vital to our mission of improving the health of all people. Hospitals and clinics must create a safe and welcoming environment for patients, their significant others and their families. Patients measure the quality of their healthcare through the lens of how they are treated. Everyone deserves access to high-quality care free from discrimination.

As the only academic healthcare system in the Pacific Northwest, UW Medicine has a long history of caring for patients from all walks of life. Based on the core values of diversity and inclusion, our culture promotes complete equality in employment practices and in interactions with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and families.

Achieving health equity involves incorporating diversity into everything we do. With the guidance of the Healthcare Equality Index, all relevant policies have been reviewed for consistency with these four critical measures: patient non-discrimination, visitation, cultural competency training and employment non-discrimination.

To further expand our diversity efforts to students and trainees, during the past year the UW School of Medicine has adopted a diversity strategic plan and established a Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Its goal is to advance diversity and inclusion for leadership, faculty, trainees, students and staff. The center is led by a chief diversity officer, who reports directly to UW Medicine’s chief executive officer.

UW Medicine is proud to be one of the Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Our commitment is to merit this recognition every day by providing the highest quality healthcare in a compassionate and professional manner, free of discrimination based on a person's beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Johnese Spisso
Chief Health System Officer, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Washington

Diversity: It’s Who We Are
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Leader: Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Years rated in HEI: 5
Years as Leader: 1


Vanderbilt’s mission is to bring the full measure of knowledge, skill, respect and compassion to patient care, education and research. Central to our mission is inclusivity and service to the diversity of our patients, students, faculty and staff. Participation in the Healthcare Equality Index is a reflection of our culture.

LGBT inclusiveness requires our attention at all organizational levels, and must permeate the depth and breadth of our community in all that we do.

We are dedicated to providing personalized healthcare and we respect and honor patients’ rights to define their families and support persons. We are committed to protecting patient and visitation rights, providing cultural fluency training for our faculty and staff, reflecting inclusivity in electronic and printed materials, upgrading our intake processes to gather critical patient information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and appropriately modifying our facilities.

Our educational mission is supported by LGBT-inclusive employment and benefit policies, dedicated to providing our students, faculty and staff with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors to reflect and enhance our diversity. We understand the value of LGBT inclusiveness and education across our medical center throughout all levels, from senior leadership to the front lines of patient care delivery. We support LGBT inclusion in our community through health events and LGBT-friendly provider access.

We are on the leading edge of research into LGBT health issues through the lenses of education and patient care. Our education research centers around enhancing student knowledge and attitudes to better prepare future providers to care for LGBT patients. Our patient care research addresses LGBT health disparities in both health access and health outcomes.

Being included among the Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality is a tremendous honor representative of our commitment and an affirmation of our efforts. We look forward to the journey ahead as we advance this important mission.

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A.
Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO
Vanderbilt Health System

Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC
Executive Chief Nursing Officer
Vanderbilt University Medical Center