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Penn State Health establishes Sexual and Gender Minority Advisory Council

Penn State Health’s new Sexual and Gender Minority Advisory Council held its first meeting on Sept. 1. Its mission is to advance non-discrimination policies and promote an equitable and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ patients who receive care at Penn State Health.

“To achieve our mission and our vision, we have to ensure an environment across every part of our organization where people of all sexual orientation and gender identities, ages, skin colors, religions, languages and backgrounds feel comfortable coming here for care,” said Steve Massini, chief executive officer, Penn State Health.

To accomplish this goal, Penn State Health established a task force in 2017 that became an advisory council this year. There are also resource groups to support the interests of sexual and gender minority employees and a student affinity group focused on students and educational needs.

“Our goal is to be a leader in quality, culturally responsive care for sexual and gender minority patients, and this includes educating our workforce on how to provide the best care for these patients,” said Lynette Chappell-Williams, Penn State Health’s vice president and chief diversity officer. “We have established educational sessions for this purpose, including opportunities to show support for our LGBTQ+ communities. For example, we plan to celebrate Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 in support of our sexual and gender minority employees, patients and students. We also will present an informational session for employees on providing culturally responsive care to LGBTQ+ patients on January 20, 2022, which will feature the leaders of the LGBT resource centers for Berks, Lancaster and Dauphin counties.”

The health system’s Sexual and Gender Minority Advisory Council will focus on five areas: general patient experience, the health system’s connections with the community, organizational communications on sexual and gender minority support, understanding LGBTQ-inclusive local and national policies and LGBTQ-inclusive education for care teams. These areas align with those identified by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ national advocacy group that evaluates medical centers and health systems for the patient care experience it provides to LGBTQ communities.

Representatives from the health system’s regional clinical teams will sit on the council, as well as representatives from patient experience teams; internal LGBTQ support groups; the gender medicine clinic staff; several Shared Services departments, including Human Resources and Information Services; and external advocacy organizations, such as the LGBTQ+ Coalition, the LGBT Center for Reading, the LGBT Center for Central PA and Alder Health.

Employees or community groups who would like to learn more about the Sexual and Gender Minority Advisory Council can contact Penn State Health’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at

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