Nursing Leaders Convene at Columbia Nursing for First National LGBTQ Health Summit
The first National Nursing LGBTQ Health Summit, conceived by the Nursing LGBTQ Summit Advisory Board, was hosted at Columbia University School of Nursing on November 21 and 22. The summit focused on advancing nursing’s progress in addressing LGBTQ health issues and drew deans and other leaders from top U.S. nursing schools, and representatives of nursing organizations, including the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as well as the National Institutes of Health. It was a first step toward creating a national health action plan to raise awareness of and improve LGBTQ health.
Charged with mapping out the action plan, participants discussed and brainstormed strategies for bringing attention to LGBTQ health within the nursing profession and around nursing education, research, and practice.
Reducing disparities and improving the health of people who are LGBTQ, participants agreed, will require nursing leadership’s support for increasing LGBTQ-specific content in nursing curricula and in faculty development programs, as well as in research, policy development, and the revamping of practice guidelines.
“One in five LGBTQ people do not seek health care because they fear discrimination,” said keynote speaker Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, dean of Rutgers University’s School of Public Health. Moreover, the interaction between discrimination and other minority stressors—race and ethnicity, poverty, geography, lack of insurance—further drives LGBTQ health disparities, he added.
The summit ended with a call to action for nursing to prioritize LGBTQ health through innovations in education, research, and practice and to advance LGBTQ health policy. Outputs of the summit will include the following: publication of a white paper or individual papers that address LGBTQ health in education, research, and practice, with implications for policy; a national LGBTQ health action plan focused on the dynamic intersections among nursing education, research, and practice, with recommendations in each of these arenas and with wide dissemination of the plan through publications, conferences, and social media; and a forum through which participants can network and plan future collaborations.
Members of the National Nursing LGBTQ Health Summit Advisory Board are Patricia Davidson, PhD, Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing; William L. Holzemer, PhD, Dean Emeritus, Rutgers University School of Nursing; Tonda L. Hughes, PhD, Associate Dean, Global Health, Columbia University School of Nursing; David Keepnews, PhD, Professor and Director, DNP in Health Policy, the George Washington University School of Nursing; Ann Kurth, PhD, Dean, Yale School of Nursing; and Eileen M. Sullivan-Marx, PhD, Dean, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
Quotes from the Summit by Nursing Leaders:
Lorraine Frazier, PhD, Dean, Columbia University School of Nursing:
We’re here because we share a commitment to health equity, diversity, and the needs of the LGBTQ community and to looking at how we can advance education, clinical programs, research, and policy.
William Holzemer, PhD, Dean Emeritus, Rutgers University School of Nursing:
Developing strategies to improve LGBTQ care fits the vision and mission of nursing as an advocate for patients’ rights.
Tonda L. Hughes, PhD, Associate Dean, Global Health, Columbia University School of Nursing and leader of the summit:
The U.S. nursing profession lacks guidelines for the care of LGBTQ people, partly because it lacks the evidence upon which to base such recommendations. This makes it difficult for nursing faculty to know what to teach nursing students, and for practicing nurses to deliver high quality, culturally appropriate care. The size of the nursing profession, and the fact that we’re in nearly every health care setting and health sciences center, means that we should be leading this movement.
David Keepnews, PhD, Professor and Director, DNP in Health Policy, the George Washington University School of Nursing:
It’s particularly important that advancing LGBTQ health be recognized as a priority for the entire profession. Thanks to this important forum, leaders across nursing can focus on their roles in improving LGBTQ health.
Ann Kurth, PhD, Dean, Yale School of Nursing:
Research shows that sexual minorities are at high risk of physical and mental health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, substance use disorders, depression, and attempted suicide. The LGBTQ population is disproportionately represented in adverse health outcomes across the life course. Nursing can, and must, change this trajectory.
Patricia Davidson, PhD, Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing:
Ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce is a critical mandate for all schools of nursing. This forum has fostered a momentum to respectfully and meaningfully engage in improving LGBTQ health. I look forward to next steps.
Eileen M. Sullivan-Marx PhD, Dean, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing and American Academy of Nursing President:
The health of all people is paramount. To do this successfully as nurses, we must take coordinated and direct steps to ensure that the LGBTQ community receives care that is equitable and patient-centered. Expanding our knowledge, investing in more research, and creating safe spaces for discussions, such as this National LGBTQ Health Summit, are invaluable to our goal of achieving true health equity.