LGBTQ+ Safe Space
We are committed to providing culturally competent and affirming care to LGBTQ+ people; in fact, we consider this a human rights issue. It is well supported in the scientific literature that the LGBTQ+ community is medically underserved due to significant health disparities and barriers to accessing health care. From both a clinical and public health perspective, LGBTQ+ individuals experience health disparities.
These health disparities are indicated in a substantial body of research, and examples include: LGBT people being at heightened risk for psychological distress, drinking, and smoking; lesbian and bisexual women are at heightened risk of having multiple chronic conditions; and transgender people are more likely to be overweight, depressed, report cognitive difficulties, and forego treatment for health problems than cisgender peers. Furthermore, when LGBTQ+ people require care, they often face barriers to accessing it. LGBTQ+ individuals are twice as likely to be uninsured as non-LGBTQ individuals, and many have trouble finding providers who will treat them without passing judgment on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The health disparities that LGBTQ+ people experience are often worsened by the perpetual discrimination they face in society. This has been identified as a type of chronic stress, called “minority stress,” defined as the added stressors that individuals face because they belong to a stigmatized group. Minority stress is well documented to contribute to a myriad of health problems, including but not limited to depressive symptoms, substance use, suicidal ideation and attempts. Minority stress also contributes to physical health problems, such as increased risk for chronic disease.
We warmly accept you, your gender, and your sexual orientation with open arms. We are here to serve you, in a partnership, as your health care providers and we hope you are able to give us your full trust and confidence. We see you as the individual you are, deserving of the best quality health care you can receive.
Black Lives Matter
We hope it is self-evident, but we want to clearly state that Black Lives Matter, and we support the movement of Black Lives Matter. This does not negate our belief that all lives matter, and we will attempt to treat any person that respectfully enters our clinic door with our best intentions to facilitate improved health and healing. However, to state all lives matter as an amendment to the Black Lives Matter movement minimizes the Black experience, and obscures the facts of worse outcomes and ongoing discrimination and prejudice for Black people.
Black people experience worse health outcomes, an alarming rate of killings by police officers (Native Americans are a higher rate, and Latinx 3rd highest), and the highest rates of poverty in the United States.
The vestiges of slavery and systemic, institutionalized racism, which for example is well documented in housing policies of our past, persists in obvious and insidious ways, such as poor access to quality public education when education is primarily funded by property taxes. Black people could not often (if ever) access housing programs like the GI Bill (after serving their country in the military) because of racist housing policies (red-lining). It is clear how these policies increase wealth in certain populations, especially white people, and decrease wealth through lesser property values in Black areas, which then allow for outside people to buy cheaper properties to rent back to the Black community, or for gentrification, which forces out Black people and most people of color in many examples. Wealth and Education correlate with health status, among other well known Social Determinants of Health. Thus, the cycle continues.
While we alone cannot reverse the above, we will do our small part, and publicize the obstacles facing Black people’s right to exist, and more importantly thrive. We believe that when we exemplify Black Lives Matter, and strive for equity and justice through our policies and actions, we will universally benefit all people of color, and all people in general.
We embrace the concept of intersectional feminism and we attempt to reflect that mindset in our medical practice and our daily lives. Intersectional feminism is the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect. For practical purposes, this means that discrimination does not exist in a bubble, and different types of prejudice can be amplified in different ways when put together. This applies to discrimination based upon gender, race, age, class, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, gender or sexual identity, or ethnicity.
We are actively attempting to dismantle oppressive systems, especially in the realm of medicine. We aim to be as inclusive a practice as possible; for example, if there is competition for an appointment time, we would prefer to give that spot to a member of a historically oppressed group. We also actively acknowledge the chronic stress that is inherent in living as a member of a minority group and will incorporate stress reduction techniques into your treatment plan. We hope that no matter your background, you feel welcome here at L.I.F.E. Medicine—because you are!