Posted: April 19, 2013

Successful Strategies for LGBTQ Climate Change in Two Southern Academic Health Centers


This poster will facilitate continued discussion and sharing of best practices regarding the creation of a campus climate that is more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. By highlighting the strategies that worked successfully in two academic health centers in the South, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), this poster will contribute to the discussion on best practices by providing specific examples of successful initiatives as well as strategic planning advice and relevant resources. Through an overview of the specific initiatives that MCG and MSM enacted and a more detailed sharing of lessons learned, the poster continues to feed the momentum gained at the LGBT Summit during the AAMC National Meeting in San Francisco in 2012. By answering questions such as ‘why is this topic important to our academic health center,' ‘what barriers do we face,' ‘what resources do we have' and ‘how do we measure impact,' the poster will focus on the multi-pronged collaborative strategies employed by the two Academic Health Centers to overcome institutional barriers in order to enact positive institutional climate change. For example, geographical location plays a role in institutional climate at both the Medical College of Georgia and Morehouse School of Medicine, a historically Black institution. As part of the southern Bible Belt region and with a large African American population, race and religion can be important factors in climate change regarding LGBTQ issues, not only within the two institutions themselves, but also within the local communities in which the institutions are situated. Despite these barriers, success at both institutions hinged upon the use of strategies focused on networking between on and off campus groups, generating leadership involvement and engagement, undertaking policy review as well as designing outreach and educational initiatives to raise awareness within the Academic Health Center community.

Morehouse School of Medicine created an MSM Alliance, formed a Diversity Committee and changed the Equal Employment Opportunity policy to include gender identity and expression. The Medical College of Georgia hosted a Come Out for Health Week, infused LGBTQ focused health disparities into the curriculum for sponsored summer programs and facilitated a workshop on providing LGBTQ inclusive care for the Department of Family Medicine. These are just a few of the successful initiatives that the two institutions have implemented. These strategies may be applicable to most Academic Health Centers because they involve advocacy, mentoring, fulfillment of LCME requirements, training and awareness-raising activities. The poster also shares advice regarding lessons learned, both positive and negative, for other institutions to keep in mind during their own strategic planning and implementation of initiatives for creating a more inclusive institutional climate. It is hoped that by continuing the conversation by sharing lessons learned and best practices related to such an important and timely topic, that Academic Health Centers can help each other create a more inclusive climate within medical education that will extend beyond the doors of our institutions to help reduce health disparities within the LGBTQ community.

The goals of this collaboration were to create an inclusive institutional climate for the LGBTQ community and share best practices in a continued to discussion to help other institutions also implement initiatives aimed at creating inclusive environments.


Health Equity Research, Diversity, Cultural Competency, LGBTQ, Institutional Climate Change, Inclusive Environment, Historically Black College & University (HBCU)


Alexis L. Rossi, MEd, MA, Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University

Carey Roth Bayer, EdD, RN, CSE, Morehouse School of Medicine

Lore Dickey, PhD, University of Southern Mississippi

Folashade Omole, MD, FAAFP, CPEHR, Morehouse School of Medicine

Kimberly Vess Halbur, EdD, MA, Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University