I just read Dean Hill’s editorial in the latest issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing and it was very helpful for me to follow her thinking. I am currently in transition to the position of Dean at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. It is a very good nursing school and I am honored to be assuming this leadership role. Texas Tech has very prominent engineering programs and I do not believe that partnerships such as the ones Dean Hill described have been leveraged in the past.
Thank you for opening up my thinking to such possibilities!
Michael L. Evans, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Dean and Professor
Goldfarb School of Nursing
I would like to offer a rebuttal to the letter to the editor written by James Fuller and published in the Summer 2011 issue. Mr. Fuller’s argument that LGBT cultural competency training is “ill-advised” is a case of finely veiled homophobia or, at least, willful ignorance.
The LGBT community has worse overall health outcomes, higher rates of cancer, mental illness, and alcohol and tobacco use, not to mention stress due to systematic discrimination. Mr. Fuller brushes this off as a “societal hot topic item.” A 2010 Lambda Legal study showed 56% of LGB and 70% of transgendered patients experienced some form of discrimination in the healthcare system. LGBT partners may not have access to employer health insurance or be recognized in hospital visitation policies, while transgender individuals can be barred by insurance exclusions. Do you know how the mechanics of gay sex translates to varying risks for STIs? Do you understand the implications of hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery? The IOM, NIH, and Healthy People 2020 all agree that learning LGBT cultural competency is critical to our future. Just ask the thousands of patients who have taken their money to the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in NYC, which operates on the promise that they understand LGBT needs.
I encourage everybody to visit the Human Rights Campaign’s web site (www.hrc.org) to see the current research.
And, to Mr. Fuller’s fear that LGBT education will “open the possibility of other specialized groups petitioning for the same special recognition,” I say, “The more the merrier!” Our thirst for cultural competence in America should be limitless, especially for the minorities who suffer continued health disparities here.
Frank C. Mataska, Accel. ’10, RN
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