Dr. Michele R. Stookey – Community Health Network

Dr. Michele R. Stookey, family medicine practitioner
Community Health Network

What should LGBTQIA+ healthcare look like in 2024?

The main thing that we will see moving forward is more and more health systems and offices having what are called LGBTQIA+-friendly practices. This is something our system
has already had a lot of discussions about. It’s estimated that 7.2 percent of Americans identifies in this population, but 19 percent of Gen Z do. So this is a need that not only won’t go away but will only continue to grow. Yet, many physicians have not had any education on how to serve this unique community. We’ve taken extra steps, and hopefully in 2024 we’ll see more practices take extra steps to ensure that these patients know they are in a place where they can get inclusive healthcare. Our doctors’ offices will utilize a confidential online form, which all patients will fill out ahead of time. We ask their assigned sex at birth, their gender identity, preferred name and pronouns, and their sexual orientation. That questionnaire is then in their chart. We are aware of all of that information before they even arrive. So when the patient is called into an exam room at the doctor’s office, they can immediately feel safe and comfortable. More and more doctors and offices will be trained so both physicians and their staffs understand how to serve this population and address their unique healthcare concerns.