Monday, December 8, 2014

For a second year in a row, the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) has named University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics an Equality Leader in its national survey based on nondiscrimination policies and care for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) community.

Among the more than 1,500 institutions evaluated in this year’s survey, less than a third received the Equality Leader designation. The four criteria for the designation are: patient nondiscrimination policies, visitation policies, employment nondiscrimination policies, and training in LGBTQ patient-centered care.

Nicole Nisly, M.D., who practices internal medicine, cofounded the LGBTQ clinic two years ago with Katie Imborek, M.D., who practices family medicine.

Nisly says addressing the special health care needs of the LGBTQ population grows out of an institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion to provide excellent, evidence-based care to all patients, especially those experiencing health disparities. 

A number of new services are offered, including pharmacy counseling, teaching on the safe and effective use of hormone therapy, and patient education, including presentations and materials for Spanish-speaking patients. Legal counseling and mental health services are also available.

Nisly adds that researchers from public health, nursing, dentistry, and women’s sexuality and gender studies add their expertise as part of a research team convened to address the health disparities experienced by LGBTQ patients, which is in response to a call for more research by the Institute of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, based on a 2011 report on the Health of LGBT patients.

The clinic faculty and staff have developed course material in the UI Carver College of Medicine and have presented information to health care and patient groups on safe, evidence-based, and welcoming health care for LGBTQ patients, in order to prepare future professionals for the care of LGBTQ patients.

More information is available online at

In addition to routine physical exams and wellness checks, Nisly and Imborek provide additional services, including chronic disease management, gynecological services, obstetric care, testing and disease prevention, hormone therapy, and surgery. Appointments for the LGBTQ clinic can be made at 319-467-2000 or toll-free at 855-467-3700.