KCU Feb 24-25, 2020

Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment for LGBTQ+ Patients

On February 24 and 25, Dr. Holt had the honor of returning to his alma mater, Kansas City University, to discuss LGBTQ+ healthcare with faculty, staff, students, and administration. He had the opportunity to present sessions and moderate a panel of trans patients in front of over 400 attendees across two campuses. 

Many topics were discussed on how to make the healthcare setting a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ patients, including the impact of the waiting room, intake forms, and patient interactions. 

One of the highlights of the visit was a meet and greet luncheon with KCU’s SAFEE group, which is a student led advocacy group for LGBTQIA+ students. Complimentary copies of Dr. Holt’s “Life and Love” coloring book were available at the SAFEE event.

The following are written comments from attendees of the panel and/or one of the Dr. Holt’s sessions:

This talk was very eye opening and informative in how to approach a transgender patient from a medical perspective. As a collective group we have very little exposure to working with the LGBTQ community and so any exposure we can get is very valuable. The most important thing I learned was how to first respond to a transgender patient in a way so that the patient feels welcomed and accepted. – M

Personally, it was just reaffirming the knowledge that all our patients are humans and deserve respect and our best efforts to their care. For me particularly, it was even more motivating to make sure that as a physician this group of patients know that I “see them” and love them as humans. I am a Christian and I know that there is much that has been done and said erroneously while hiding behind that title. That’s NOT what a true Christian is, so I would love to do my small part to change that experience for the LGBTQ+ population. I learned to not forget/neglect this group of people. – F

As an out gay man I think having LGBT topics in healthcare built directly into our curriculum not only improves our education, but also supports my own thoughts, beliefs, and comforts in my own life. Knowing that my peers are receiving this education and are becoming aware of this population only fortifies my hopes for a better healthcare future. I learned the importance of “setting the stage” and how a few personal and heartfelt comments to a colleague/friend/family can have SUCH a large impact in their lives (decreased risk of substance abuse, decreased risk of suicide…only from a few words)! – M

This talk really opened my eyes and my heart to the realities faced by transgender people in our society. I was really nervous to come here today to deal with my feeling of discomfort about this topics because of my own ignorance. I appreciate the candor and honesty of the panel. I would love to learn more of what I can do to be more educated as a provider. I learned how crucial it is to provide a safe and caring environment for patients that identify this way. I also learned how much I need to learn and about my own prejudice and ignorance. – F

As a gay man these presentations were very enlightening and I was very happy to see my classmates learn about how to treat/care for LGBTQ patients, as well as hear from two trans females about their stories here locally. Dr. Holt’s lone discussion was also very crucial for everyone to listen to since we will all be treating LGBTQ patients in whatever field we choose. I learned how easy it is to make your office/practice a welcoming/accepting place for LGBTQ patients. Many providers who haven’t had exposure to LGBTQ patients/culture may not even consider including our community in their practices, but Dr. Holt made it very easy to do so much. – M

I learned there is a respectful and professional way to help LGBT patients as a medical professional. – M

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the panelists on their personal experience as well as their expertise in law and healthcare. It really opened my eyes to the human nature of trans experiences and the need for more understanding. I learned LGBTQIA experiences are diverse and different for every person. It is upon physicians to seek to understand. – M

I thoroughly enjoyed the panel today. It was incredibly valuable to speak with and learn from people from the community. The power of human connection and the opportunity to hear other’s stories really facilitates true learning and understanding. I learned how to be an ally as a healthcare professional. It was really exciting to receive concrete ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community in a healthcare setting. Today was the first time the subject was addressed in my medical education. I would like to have more lectures like this. – F

I really appreciate your sharing your personal story. As a straight, cisgender person sometimes it is hard to understand the gravity of the consequences of coming out. The small tips you shared and the larger perspective the panel provided will really help me in advocating for my patients in the future. I learned simple ways to make patients in the LGBTQ community feel comfortable in the healthcare setting. – F

Was very educational and made me more aware of the how to ask, when to ask, and what certain things/topics need to be addressed when caring for the LGBTQ community. I learned to just be accepting and listen to the patient and just treat them like any other patient. – F

It’s eye opening to what I don’t know and how uneducated we are in LGBTQIA healthcare needs. I wish we were given more education on the diverse needs of these patients, because I want to help and be an ally, but I am concerned that I don’t know enough. I learned how to establish an open relationship with a LGBTQIA patient simply by telling them that I accept them; and even if I need to research for them, let them know that I will do the best I can to support them and get them the care they need. Open and honest communication. – F

I really enjoyed this talk! I appreciated hearing the personal experiences of the people on the panel and I believe attending this talk made me more aware of how I can be a more empathic physician. I learned to meet and treat people where they are. To remember that everyone simply wants be treated with dignity and respect at the end of the day. – F

The panel was priceless. I think that students being able to talk to and listen to real trans people is essential before they go into clinicals. – NB

Thank you. I learned the resources in the area; the level/more micro aggressions than I was aware of; how simple it really is to be inclusive; and how to address “treating the organs that are present”. – F

This panel has further shown the need for more medical professionals who are competent in treating trans patients. The school curriculum does not offer that much training on this subject, so I will need to be proactive about seeking out the information that I will need to take better care of patients in the future. The importance of being at the very least aware of the legislature that has been enacted/is being debated was also highlighted during this panel. As a physician, I will also have expertise that can potentially be leveraged to help advocate for policies that will benefit patients. I learned the need for more physicians who are educated about current treatment standards for trans patients. If a physician does not know how best to treat a particular patient, they should at least know where to refer that patient so that they can get the care that they need. – F

Thank you so much for talking to us. Your story was very moving and thank you for putting together the panel. I learned the hardships that LGBTQIA members go through and how I can present myself as an advocate and make everyone feel welcome when I am their doctor. – F

Thank you so much. I feel like I don’t get enough education on LGBTQ issues, and I’m so grateful for any opportunity to learn more and be a better physician. More opportunities like this would be very helpful. I learned the importance of respect for patients of all kinds. – M

As a gay male I already had some knowledge in regards to LGBTQIA+ health. However; this talk was helpful for learning how to ensure a standard of care that not only addresses a patient’s anatomical biology and risk factors, but the psychosocial needs as well. I learned how to approach the clinical care for a trans individual seeking medical therapy, specifically how to approach sensitive subjects in a polite and sincere manner. Also, the capacity for us, as medical professionals, to be a greater advocate for a disproportionately underserved and mistreated community. – M

This panel really helped me understand the small things that we as future physicians can do to make people of the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable and respected. I learned to say, “Thank you for sharing”. – F

I feel like I learned a great deal and appreciated the view points of the trans panel members. They were able to get across their personal experiences and we should treat the whole individual. Treating all patients as a whole human being was reinforced by attending this panel. – M

Very informative. Learned how to approach patients in the LGBTQ community. – M

Learned that any provider can offer care to transitioning individuals – it’s just a matter of seeking the information and training necessary. – F

Great panel – this info is so important for us to learn. These are human beings, so treat them as such. – F

Makes me more aware of how to address my future trans patients. Also teaches me how to make my future trans patients feel comfortable and accepted. I learned how trans people feel being on the patient side of their physicians’ office. – F

I feel better prepared to discuss transgender issues with a patient in the future in a way that makes them feel respected. I was raised in such an open minded family that I didn’t realize some these issues were still such a problem. – F

This helps to be a better physician that can treat all patients with respect and dignity. Trans folks matter. – F

Learned how to be more sensitive and appropriate with transgender patients. Good advice on how to approach a new patient that is trans and how to ask questions. – M

This will make me have a more open mind to the LGBT community. I can strive to put aside stigma and provide open care as I would with any others. I will work to have conversations with an open mind. I learned that trans people go across state lines for care. Trans people just want normal care.

Thanks you so much for being so open on this topic. This has given me the confidence to be open with the conversation to my future patients. Everyone just wants to be heard and seen for who they are, not just what is shown on their charts. – F

It helped me understand more about the community and now of a better approach. – M

This was a very helpful session. I haven’t had a lot of experience interacting with trans people to my knowledge. This session just opened my eyes to the various things that trans patients go through when trying to access care. This panel helped give me the knowledge of what I don’t know, so I can know what questions I need to ask moving forward. I learned how to appropriately respond to someone telling you they are transgender; and what a positive experience looks like for a trans patient. – M

Thank you so much for talking to us today and having a panel of such inspirational, educational, and well-informed women. I hope to be a better informed ally of the LGBTQ+ community. This talk helped me achieve a part of that. I was grossly unaware before today. I learned how to best address a trans patient’s medical care and how to, and how not to, treat them and how to ask medical questions. These people are just people and deserve quality unbiased medical care. – F

I thought this was amazing! I loved the panel members openness and honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. I would look forward to more open discussions from people with personal experiences. It opened my eyes to the personal struggles trans people face every day. I thought it was awesome to have a lawyer on the panel to give her insight as a professional. I also loved the perspective from the older (but so young) woman and why she decided to complete her surgery despite her age. Both of the panel members were amazing and I wish I had more time to get to know them! I learned how to respond as a psysician when a trans person comes out to you; the professional and respectful way to present yourself as their healthcare provider; and how to explain to them how you can best provide care for them as they identify, but also their anatomy. – bisexual F

This talk was wonderful. I am so appreciative of this information because I am a straight female that wants to practice in my home state of California. I know I will have many LGBTQ patients and I want to make sure I give them the best possible care. I want to be respectful and helpful to all my patients. I learned how to help someone feel at ease when they come to see their physician. I think it is also so important for all of us to hear how difficult it is to live in society as LGBTQIA and what we can do to make it slightly better. – F

Much appreciated. I learned the importance of establishing trust and acceptance early in a patient encounter with LGBTQIA patients. – F

Very good information. Thank you! I learned how to discuss these items with patients. -M

It was a nice experience hearing from people who first hand have lived through it. I learned acceptance is not the same as tolerance. – M

This panel showed me the perspective of trans patients in a patient encounter and what has made them uncomfortable in the past. Learned how to respond to a trans patient in the healthcare setting in a way that makes them more comfortable. – F

This helped me to realize some of the things I believed were inclusive were actually exclusive. Treat everyone the same. – M

It is interesting to hear from patients who have gone through different difficulties to get care. This will stay in my mind as we go through rotations and see patients. Learned to be kind and caring and compassionate in all aspects and struggles of their care and life. – F

Info was useful and interesting. Treat the patient regardless of gender identity. – M

I really appreciated the openness of the panelists. This was the first time I had such an open conversation and learned a lot. I was shocked at how one of the panelists had to travel to Michigan for care. – F

I have a greater appreciation for the struggles of the LGBT community in regards to healthcare and daily life. I learned the advances that have been made in recent years are being opposed by various political and legal points despite the efforts of many. – M

It was nice having people share first hand about their experiences. Learned how to initially react when a patient comes out about being LGBTQ. – M

It will influence me in a positive way. Learned the perspective of a transgender person. – M

Very informative/insightful conversation I feel more people should hear. I will take the things I learned here today and try to build on them in the future. One of the most important things I learned today was how to start a dialogue with our patients in the best way to make then feel comfortable. Also to know I am there for them and will give them the best care possible no matter what. – M

I think this talk was very important as it is the first time we’ve been exposed to how to treat LGBTQ+ patients. I thought the panel was great and it has definitely impacted me as a future physician. I learned that how, as a physician, to better treat the LGBTQ+ community and how to address their health needs while making sure they feel they’re in a safe and welcoming environment. – F

I don’t feel adequate enough to help this community, but this talk helped me understand what I can do and treat all patients effectively. I want to continue learning because I never want to turn away a patient who needs help or make a patient feels like they can’t come to me for treatment. We need more healthcare professionals who are educated and trained – I want to be one of those providers. – F

Good talk/panel. Will be more supportive and less judgy – work on empathy and knowledge. Learned to treat the anatomy that’s present, but treating the person is more important. – M

The panel has reminded me of the importance of treating the entire person and not just the anatomy they are born with. I learned how even just a compassionate touch or listening ear can make such a difference in someone’s life. – F

Great talk. I appreciated having several different perspectives of the speakers. It was exceptionally helpful to have a legal perspective. – F

This will make me a better physician who is willing and able to provide proper treatment/aid to everyone and anyone, straight or trans. It will make me lack bias to any gender. I learned to be open, understanding, nonjudgmental and kind to everyone. Be willing to learn from the LGBTQ community. – F

Be more considerate and respectful towards LGBTQ+. Also be honest with them. If I do not have the full knowledge to properly treat them, let them know upfront and help then find physicians that can give them best care. I learned to treat all LGBTQ+ patients with the respect they deserve – just like all other patients. – F

It’s just incredibly frustrating to hear about how LGBTQIA+ patients are being treated by healthcare “professionals”. If your religious beliefs prevent you from being a decent person what does that say about your god? If your personal beliefs keep you from meeting patients where they are and being there for them no matter what, why did you even choose to be a physician? Patients, friends, and family: We want to be loved. The continued mistreatment of the “other” is tired. We need to be better than this. Let’s all grow up a little bit. I’ll strive to be more aware in my practice as I strive to provide the best care possible. I learned being different is deadly. – M

I think this talk and panel will definitely help me become more comfortable treating LGBTQ patients and making them feel more comfortable in the healthcare setting. I’ll definitely remember the pointers on how to ask questions, talk to patients, and make my office more welcoming. – F

I loved the panel. It was very educational. I really liked the honesty. I learned how to professionally and appropriately handle patient encounters. – F

I really appreciate the vulnerability and honesty displayed. I can only imagine how hard that must be. I was a little surprised to discover how much I don’t know about the LGBTQ+ community struggles, but this panel helped me realize that it is okay to ask questions. I plan to educate myself further. Showing people respect and kindness can have a significant impact on their lives. This should be a given, but often is not. I hope that in time our world changes for the better. – F

I appreciate the panel and Dr. Holt feeling comfortable enough to share sensitive experiences with us. The most important thing I learned, while there may be specific health concerns for LGBTQ+ community we need to keep in mind, the best thing we can do is to treat all our patients the same and show them the same amount of care. – F

This was very positive The talk put into perspective how medicine and social factors interact in not just the trans community, but the community at large. I learned that trans patients require an individualized medical approach similar to all others. It will require research and effort to make sure I am medically knowledgable such that I can provide these patients the care they need. – M

The panel was really eye opening for me. I’ve never openly heard from a trans individual so this was very informative. The presenters were very inspiring and informative. I learned there is no wrong way to be compassionate to a trans patient as long as the care provider is open to communicating respectfully with the patient. – F

Honestly, I am very ignorant about many of these issues, so I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this in an open forum. Learning how to approach these conversations with a patient population was very useful. I have a lot to learn about being an open and welcoming provider, but I think this was a first good step. – F

I have a better knowledge of all the extra things LGBTQ+ patients have to go through/deal with. I learned how to approach some of the more difficult aspects of caring for an LGBTQ+ patient both medically and as an advocate for them. – M

I was not very knowledgable on trans people, so all of it was very enlightening – I appreciated the personal anecdotes from Dr. Holt and the panel. It made it more personal and helped me understand some of the daily and clinical struggles they all faced and how I can improve myself as a future physician to treat this patient population. I learned how to respond in a clinical situation when someone tells you they are transgender as well as the personal anecdotes that had caused them emotional distress in the clinical setting. – F

I appreciated hearing the frank conversations about trans health. Loved hearing your perspectives. You all are amazing. I learned we can advocate for initiatives to promote LGBTQIA health. – M

The panel was great. It was wonderful to hear from individuals with first hand experience faced by LGBTQ individuals and suggestions they have for future doctors. I really appreciated the information on how to structure an inclusive environment for patients. – M

I knew what I now realize is grossly little about transgender healthcare and being trans in general. Having trans individuals here gave me much more insight than I could have gained from a powerpoint. I learned how I can be an accepting and informed advocate for LGBT+ patients and peers. Also learned that a PCP can provide HRT and other trans care and that there are protocols available. – F

This panel and ensuing lecture will be very important to informing my ability to provide care for LGBTQ individuals. I learned about the deep importance of the transition process and how it is currently under attack. Also looking forward to having resources to turn to for bettering my care. – M

I appreciate the panelists taking time to share their personal stories with the class! – F

I was interested in hearing about the legal aspect of these situations. It wasn’t something I thought would involve me as a future doctor, so I am glad to have learned a bit about what my patients may have to face in order to receive care. It was important for me to hear from real patients about the negative experiences they have had. – F

I think it was helpful to hear from a lawyer and someone in the medical field about trans rights/treatments. The panelists were quite interesting and informative! I learned the great disparity trans people experience in receiving basic care. – F

I always enjoy hearing and learning about patient populations that I have little to no experience interacting with. I want to learn how to be a resource and compassionate healthcare provider. Thank you for sharing your stories! – F

I enjoyed the fact that we had this talk. I feel the best way to help all orientations is by normalizing conversations like this. This talk helped me realize that it isn’t only the way I present myself, but also the entire atmosphere that makes someone more comfortable. I learned the risk factors for various orientations and gender identities. -M

I really appreciate this panel. I grew up in an extremely conservative community in the South where I had little to no exposure to this population. Since leaving that community, I have had to learn how to interact with and learn the struggles of this population. I alway try to listen to how to best accommodate and talk with people because I just have no clue. I know there are others who want to be helpful but just do not know how and having talks like this really help let me know what I am doing is wrong. I learned to try to make an interaction “normal”. I feel like sometimes I can make a person feel uncomfortable because of my questioning. Hearing how to ask the correct questions and when has really helped me. – F

This showed me how to better approach LGBTQ+ patients and their health concerns. It definitely provided more clarification. Advocacy and resources for patients and physicians – I haven’t heard too much about these. – F

I really appreciated having this talk/panel at school today. It brings up an important and very culturally relevant topic that is not often discussed in medical school. I think this makes all of us better future physicians, because it gives us the tools to be able to give our future patients the best care that we can. I learned to be aware, sensitive, and empathic to not only the physical and medical needs of people, but also their emotional and psychological needs as well. People are people, no matter what walk of life, and they deserve to be treated as such. – F

This will help me be more compassionate and know how to respond to trans patients. I learned we cannot just be kind to trans patients, but have to advocate for them. – F

I liked hearing from trans folks. I enjoyed their experiences and expertise. We need more than one required lecture on LGBTQIA patient care. I learned more about law and I would like to be a better advocate. I already knew this, but I liked being reminded that anyone can be a LGBTQIA advocate and that any PCP can treat trans patients and given them the best care available. – M

I was looking forward to this talk mostly because I am very unfamiliar with how to approach treatment for the LGBTQIA community while being a practicing catholic. I believe all the speakers really shed light on issues and barriers trans people face when it comes to healthcare and gave me a lot to think about in my future practice. I learned how best to approach my future care of trans patients – not only how to provide objectively good healthcare, but how best to make them feel comfortable and be an open and accepting physician for all people, regardless of how they identify. – F

I will be more aware. As a cis female with little exposure to the LGBTQIA community, this helped me place myself into another’s shoes. I hope to approach all my patients with equal compassion, regardless of their background/medical history. I learned that communication, while incredibly important in a patient-physician relationship already, is even more important when managing the care of an LGBTQIA patient. There is more emotion and vulnerability involved in their health, so compassion and communication is key. – F

I have always known that members of the LGBTQ community face bias in healthcare. I have never realized how this intersects with race and sex bias as well, leading to extremes levels of bias and causing the trans community to avoid healthcare altogether. It makes me want to make sure that the trans community knows that I will be a practicing physician that will be a source of culturally competent care, particularly to trans men who are pregnant (as I want to go into OBGYN). – F

It was really eye opening to hear from people who have transitioned or are transitioning. I would have liked to hear about other experiences as well from other members of the LGBTQIA community. I learned to listen to everyone/patients more than just to get an HPI. – F

I think the panel will help educate me in how to talk to and treat my patients in terms of not only patients, but as human beings as well. Learned to always ask how they’d like to be addressed and to ensure I fully explain everything to a trans patient to assure they don’t feel judged or blindsided. – F

This will help me to be more aware of the needs of my LGBT patients. I found the US 2015 trans survey to be very eye opening. – F

This allows me to be more inclusive in my treatment of patients in the future and more understanding of all patients. I learned how to best respond when a patient opens up about their identity or sexuality. – F

I learned that it is okay to have an open and honest conversation with patients and it’s normal. Thank you for a great, candid, conversation. – F

This talk exposed me to some of the many challenges the trans community faces, including discrimination, insurance difficulties, and difficulties getting the medical care they need. I learned ways to talk to and make trans patients feel more comfortable, including saying, “Thank you for sharing”. – F

I loved it – Thank you! Be kind. – M

Talk was very enlightening. Treat all people equal. – M

Panels like this help me learn a different perspective of other people’s POV. This will help me help my patients get the care/treatment they deserve. I learned to treat each patient encounter with the same demeanor and professionalism. – M

This influenced me to find more resources for trans patient populations. I learned a very illuminating look into the life of a trans woman living as a male for a good part of her/their adult life. Thank you Ms Carmen! – M

I liked how the talk addressed several areas where I had questions about patient care. I learned a lot about how to approach patients in the future. – M

As a future physician, my transgender patients would be more comfortable if I know how to interact with them in an understanding and respectful manner. I learned that transgender people, when revealing their gender identity, would prefer to just receive acknowledgment, instead of further questions. This would help them feel more comfortable. – F

I really enjoyed this panel and the participants. I learned specific ways to take care of the LGBTQ+ community. I learned how to be respectful and handle the care of those that are different than me. – F

I will be more aware of nonverbal communication with LGBTQ individuals. I’ve always thought of trans individuals as being of younger age. Today I learned that even senior citizens go through this. – M

This gave me ideas on how to approach trans patients without offending or upsetting them with my questions. I learned the proper way to interview and refer trans patients in my future practice. – M

This talk was very informative and allowed me gain insight into the patient’s perspective. I believe this seminar/panel will help me be more courteous and respectful to the LGBTQIA population. It was very heartbreaking to hear how transgender patients were being discriminated against as patients and how difficult it was to find the care they need and deserve. – F

I have learned a lot from this talk since I listened directly from trans patients. I haven’t had any personal interaction with that population, so this is a precious experience. I learned how to approach a LGBTQIA patient. – M

This talk was very informative. I learned a lot about how to move forward with pediatric patients. Also learned how to address a transgender patient and interact with them in a healthcare setting. – F

It gave me a better insight on how to act towards my trans patients. Learned how to speak with a patient that is trans. – M

Keep an open and honest line of communication with future patients. I learned how important it is to respect and love everyone, and stick up for those that may not be in a position to do it for themselves. – F

I think just hearing about how I should react when someone says they are trans was helpful. I learned suicide attempt rate was 40% for trans patients. – M

I will definitely be able to use my clinical reasoning to help my patients more effectively. Learned don’t judge anyone. – M

Will try to treat trans patients with the same grace and compassion as all of my patients. – F

As someone who wishes to be an advocate for all of my patients, I hope to learn more about how I can better support my trans patients through their transition as well as how to ensure I minimize any further damage I can cause as a healthcare provider who needs to treat the anatomy they have. I wish to be better educated and know more about resources I can refer my patients to so they can receive the best possible care that is gender affirming. Learned how to provide support to my parents during their transition and what I can say to help them understand my role during this process. – F

This will influence my approach. I learned mental health is a big issue among trans individuals. – M

This was knowledgable and helpful for someone who doesn’t have much experience with the trans community. I learned to always to be caring and welcoming to others. – M

I am inspired to learn more about HRT so I can be prepared to help me patients. Learned that patients can begin the gender dysphoria process at age 2. – M

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