SK Pride Group Seeks Spot on Provincial Health Authority Board
LGBT+ Inclusion Strategy and a seat at the table is realistic for 2017, Director says.
Joe Wickenhauser, Executive Director for Moose Jaw Pride said he hopes the Province will consider appointing a leader from the LGBT+ community to the Board of Directors set to govern the new Provincial Health Authority.
“There are many qualified leaders within the LGBT community who could contribute immeasurably to the governance of the Provincial Health Authority” Wickenhauser said.
According to a report released yesterday recommending sweeping changes to the health system in Saskatchewan, appointments to the board should be: “based on expertise, including the ability to represent patient experience and culture.”
“The experience of LGBT+ patients, families and employees—and the health disparities we face—are certainly issues that needs to be addressed at a strategic level” said Wickenhauser.
In 2016, a Saskatoon physician was found guilty of unprofessional conduct for telling a patient that being transgender is “an abomination” and “a perversion.”
Similarly, last May the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health issued a $20,000 settlement for a Human Rights complaint filed by a transgender woman. She was told she would have to undergo surgery in order to have her identity documents reflect her gender, but was successful in having the requirements overturned.
Wickenhauser said he applauds the Advisory Panel’s recommendations regarding Indigenous health needs in the province and hopes the government will take a similar approach to the unaddressed health needs of the LGBT+ community.
Recommendation 5 in the Advisory Panel’s report urges government to:
“Engage with Indigenous people to help inform how best to address First Nations and Métis health needs in a culturally responsive and respectful manner. In particular, the following should be examined:
a) Appropriate representation in the governance of the Provincial Health Authority;
b) Ensuring community advisory networks are reflective of the ethnicity and culture of the community; and
c) Establishing a senior administrative role within the Provincial Health Authority with the responsibility for ensuring health care services respect the Indigenous and Métis patient experience.”
Wickenhauser said the transformational changes establishing the new Provincial Health Authority is the “perfect opportunity” for establishing a province-wide LGBT+ inclusion strategy:
“10 years ago, such a thought would have been unimaginable in this province. In 2017, I think it’s a realistic possibility that deserves fair consideration.”
Rainbow Health Ontario, whose mission is to improve access to services and to promote the health of Ontario’s LGBTQ communities, has been funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term care since 2008.
Wickenhauser said he and Moose Jaw Pride colleague, Laura Budd, presented to the senior leadership team in the Five Hills Health Region in September about the need for developing a proactive LGBT+ inclusion strategy including an LGBT+ advisory panel.
Wickenhauser said the senior leadership team was very receptive to the presentation and even invited the organization to present to Human Resource professionals within the health region.
However, he stated that the Five Hills Health Region Senior Leadership team was “understandably reluctant to fully launch such an important initiative” without knowing what would happen to their efforts when the health regions were reduced.
According to the presentation delivered to the senior leadership team, the pride organization made several recommendations including:
•Adapting and implementing the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) – a tool developed by the Human Rights Campaign that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.
•Formation of an LGBT+ Inclusion Committee / Advisory Panel
•Clearly communicating the Health Region’s commitment to LGBT+ Inclusion
For media inquiries, contact:
Moose Jaw Pride