Pride Shines a Spotlight on LGBTQ+ Health Services
Jun 20, 2022 Victoria Pelham
Pride Month underscores Cedars-Sinai's commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer health. Recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the third consecutive year, Cedars-Sinai is always evolving to meet the unique needs of our LGBTQ+ patients. And our specialists continue to fight community health disparities in cancer and beyond.
"Promoting health equity for the LGBTQ+ community is a top priority, not just at Pride marches but year-round," says Jonathan Vickburg, Cedars-Sinai's associate director of Community Health Improvement. "We're pushing the needle from supporting diverse and disadvantaged L.A. residents to providing tailored research and health services that can make a real difference in their lives."
"Promoting health equity for the LGBTQ+ community is a top priority, not just at Pride marches but year-round."
Connecting with the LGBTQ+ community during Pride
In early June, Cedars-Sinai employees, along with friends and family, marched in the inaugural WeHo Pride parade and in the 52nd annual LA Pride Parade. Cedars-Sinai volunteers also shared health education resources with the community at Pride street fairs.
The show of support moved from Pride parades to community action, with teams from Cedars-Sinai's Community Health Improvement and Cancer Research Center for Health Equity, and volunteer organization Big Sunday, delivering health information, patient resources, and bags of food and supplies to community members.
In the San Fernando Valley, Cedars-Sinai sponsored Valley Pride and supported Somos Familia Valle, an LGBTQ+ education and social justice organization led by transgender queer people of color.
Walking the walk
As part of a broad health equity mission, Cedars-Sinai Cancer hosted a first-of-its-kind LGBTQ+ cancer symposium June 2-3. Gathering oncologists, health researchers and community leaders, participants aimed to tackle disparities for LGBTQ+ cancer patients—and challenges in screenings, diagnosis and care that might be contributing.
Leaders are continuing to identify areas to improve, but one shift has already started: screening for cancer based on the organs a person has, not their gender or sex. To make the process easier, a new My CS-Link online tool will soon allow patients to answer questions about their organs and histories privately before appointments.
A separate effort on July 16 also centered on the LGBTQ+ community, with a focus on brain health. The Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer's and Memory Disorders event looked closer at aging and dementia in LGBTQ+ patients, who are at higher risk of memory loss than their straight, cisgender counterparts.
Expanding access to gender-affirming care
At Cedars-Sinai, patients across the gender and sexuality spectrum have access to affirming care, from primary care to specialized services.
Our Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Wellness Clinic offers lifesaving support to transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse youth, which can include puberty blockers, hormone therapy and help with social transition. In adulthood, patients can go on to the Transgender Surgery and Health Program.
Additionally, we champion LGBTQ+ families through our Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center, which offers inclusive family-building options to the more than 1.6 million LGBTQ+ people considering biological parenthood.