Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the US, is distributing 70,000 copies of a new resources guide on treating LGBTI customers with respect to health care professionals across the country.
The guide has been produced in partnership with Human Rights Campaign (HRC). It carries information on appropriate LGBTQ terminology and identities, and on the health disparities experienced by LGBTQ people.
There are also section related to transition services and hormone therapy for trans people, HIV medication and PrEP. There is also advice on creating an inclusive and welcoming pharmacy environment.
‘LGBTQ people often experience barriers to care, and, for many, their most frequent interaction with a health care professional occurs right in their own neighborhood pharmacy,’ said Tari Hanneman, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health Equality Project, in a statement.
‘This guide will help ensure that they are treated with dignity, respected in their identities, and able to gain the necessary and inclusive health care we all need to live and thrive.’
LGBT people are 68% more likely to smoke cigarettes; and are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety
‘With almost 8,200 drugstores nationwide, touching the lives of eight million customers daily in stores and online, we have a tremendous opportunity to serve as a model of quality and individualized care for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,’ said Richard Ashworth, President of Pharmacy and Retail Operations for Walgreens.
‘By making training materials available to all our pharmacists and health care service providers, we can do even more to create a welcoming environment and build LGBTQ patients’ confidence and trust that the health care advice we provide is sensitive to their unique needs and concerns.’
Among the disparities noted by the guide are that LGBT people are slightly less likely than non-LGBT counterparts to have health insurance; LGBT people are 68% more likely to smoke cigarettes; and are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
The guide comes two months after the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights introduced a regulation that provides explicit protections from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping, in healthcare and insurance.
This extends to health care programs – including pharmacies – that receive any federal funding.
In 2014, the Williams Institute in Los Angeles published a report on the discrepancies experienced by many LGBT people in accessing healthcare, including the fact that 29% of LGBT people reported not having a personal doctor, compared to 21% of the non-LGBT population.
Walgreens – headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois – has consistently scored the top mark of 100 in HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which scores companies according to their LGBT-friendly policies and procedures.
The Walgreens/HRC guide can be read here.
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