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HRC and Walgreens Join Forces to Ensure Respectful Treatment of LGBTQ Patients

by Sarah McBride July 19, 2016

Today, HRC, in partnership with Walgreens, released a resource guide that helps pharmacists better understand the needs of LGBTQ customers and patients. The guide, which is being distributed by the pharmacy giant to more than 70,000 health care professionals across the country, provides pharmacists and pharmacy staff with information on LGBTQ identities and terminology, as well as the health disparities and unique concerns of LGBTQ patients.

“LGBTQ people often experience barriers to care, and, for many, their most frequent interaction with a health care professional occurs right in their own neighborhood pharmacy,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health Equality Project. “This guide will help ensure that they are treated with dignity, respected in their identities, and able to gain the necessary and inclusive health care we all need to live and thrive.”

Similar to resources and trainings provided by HRC’s Health Equality Project to other healthcare providers, the guide recommends steps that pharmacies can take in establishing LGBTQ-inclusive care, including staff training, inclusive restroom policies and community outreach. In addition, it provides pharmacy specific information on transition-related services for transgender people seeking hormone replacement therapy and on HIV prevention and care -- including the prescription medication PrEP, the daily pill regimen that can help people remain HIV-negative.

“With almost 8,200 drugstores nationwide, touching the lives of eight million customers daily in stores and online, we have a tremendous opportunity to serve as a model of quality and individualized care for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” said Richard Ashworth, President of Pharmacy and Retail Operations for Walgreens. “By making training materials available to all our pharmacists and health care service providers, we can do even more to create a welcoming environment and build LGBTQ patients’ confidence and trust that the health care advice we provide is sensitive to their unique needs and concerns.”

Walgreens received perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, which measures LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies and practices.

In addition to Walgreens, the guide has also been promoted and publicized by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and The ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) to their thousands of members.

The release of the guide comes almost two months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a nationwide rule banning discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity in all health care programs that receive any federal funding, including pharmacies.  The new rule provides a life-saving layer of protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people and their families.

Read the full resource guide here.

Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride


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