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Meritus recognized for expanding efforts in health care equity

March 1, 2022 - Diversity and Health Equity

The hospital’s designation is showcased in the 15th anniversary edition of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equity Index (HEI) alongside other health care providers that have policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

“To attain health equity, every person must have the opportunity to access safe, quality health care, with no one disadvantaged or disrespected because of gender identity, sexual orientation, social position or other social determinants,” said Maulik Joshi, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of Meritus Health.

Under Joshi’s leadership, Meritus Health formed the Leadership in Equity and Disparity (LEAD) Council in 2020, bringing together a representative cross-section of employees, providers and management who desire to take action and affect positive change. From there, an initial health equity report was published and posted online in 2021.

“We’ve accomplished a good deal with respect to training and educating our employees and providers and are now beginning to establish employee resource groups for several audiences, including the LGBTQ+ community,” said Allen Twigg, executive director of community and behavioral health for Meritus Health. 

Foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care and services and support for the community are among the four pillars scored for the Healthcare Equality Top Performers.

Ryan Gabriel, D.O., a third-year resident in the Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program and a physician champion for these initiatives, said that “the openness and opportunities to provide new education and information on the inclusive needs of our patients is something Meritus Health continues to get right.”

“Trainings on health care needs specific to the LGBTQ+ community have been very well-received by our physicians and providers, who want to be aware and helpful to all of the patients coming through our doors,” said Gabriel. 

The Meritus Family Medicine practice in Robinwood Professional Center, suite 200, where Dr. Gabriel sees patients alongside numerous other colleagues, has been a leader in connecting LGBTQ+ patients to more complete screenings and tests and community resources for communication and other needs.

“We are in the beginning of our journey to increase inclusion and eliminate health care disparities, but it’s great to be recognized for our initial accomplishments and the direction we are heading,” said Joshi. “Meritus Health will continue to recognize the uniqueness of every individual patient and work to treat all with dignity and respect.”

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