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Businesses, care providers doing more for LGBTQ+ health equity: Expert

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read

Businesses are stepping up to respond to the health needs for LGBTQ+ employees by hiring for executive health care roles and providing avenues to services, according to Dr. Oni Blackstock, who runs a consultancy focused on health equity and is a practicing physician with a focus on HIV care.

"The pandemic has really helped to bring to light and also amplify a number of health inequities that really existed even before the pandemic, and now we really are in a place where we need to actually do something about them," Blackstock said.

And while more remains to be done, steps are being taken, Blackstock told Yahoo Finance Live.

"We see many companies, particularly in the health care space, bringing in consultants, for instance, or creating positions for diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) chairs to begin this work ... of figuring out how they can revamp their policies, their practices, their organizational culture to help advance equity and reduce many of the health disparities that we see," Blackstock said.

Black stethoscope on LGBT flag background : Business and finance concept.
Black stethoscope on LGBT flag background : Business and finance concept.

Experts have said for years that the research has already been done and the statistics point to stark inequities.

For example, about 50% of people who are LGBTQ+ report having experienced discrimination by a health care provider, and about 75% of trans or non-gender conforming non-binary persons have experienced discrimination, Blackstock said.

It's why health care providers have to do better to train and provide resources for staff to ensure "culturally competent as well as structurally competent care," she said.

The need has given rise to services like hers and companies like Included Health, which companies hire to help employees find providers that are LGBTQ+-friendly.

"So we're seeing businesses like that start to enter the market and really help employers," Blackstock said.

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