The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was named a 2022 Top Performer in the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index.
The survey is used to evaluate health care facilities and measure their support for the needs of LGBTQ+ patients and employees. UAMS, which was named a Top Performer in 2020 as well, currently holds a rating of 95 out of 100 in the index. That score indicates that UAMS goes beyond the basics in its policies and practices in LGBTQ+ care.
Five criteria are measured to determine how inclusive a health care facility is: nondiscrimination and staff training; patient services and support; employee benefits and policies; patient and community engagement; and responsible citizenship.
Brian Gittens, Ed.D, MPA, vice chancellor of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said his employees work hard to ensure all Arkansans receive quality care, regardless of a patient’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
“UAMS is committed to creating an environment that exemplifies diversity — in our classrooms, in our workforce and in our clinical spaces,” Gittens said. “We believe that diversity goes hand-in-hand with health equity and by committing to diversity we can help reduce health disparities in Arkansas.”
The UAMS LGBTQ+ Subcommittee advocates for equitable health care services for students, employees and patients. It promotes a welcoming campus climate by increasing inclusion, awareness and education for the LGBTQ+ community. The group has worked to add pronoun placards to nametags and advocated for unisex bathrooms across the campus.
The campus is also home to a Gender Clinic, which provides surgical and hormonal treatment to transgender and gender-nonconforming patients. Additionally, the UAMS 12th Street Health and Wellness Clinic hosts Rainbow Night monthly to provide safe, free, nonjudgmental care for LGBTQ+ patients.
“Our recognition speaks to the quality of care we provide at UAMS,” Gittens said. “We always strive to do our best and will continue to push for equality and inclusivity.”