Expanding access to inclusive, holistic care for our LGBTQIA+ community

June 26, 2024 Swedish Health Team

[5 min read]

  • June is Pride Month. 
  • Providence Swedish is committed to expanding access to inclusive care for our LGBTQIA+ communities. 
  • Kevin Wang, M.D., medical director for Swedish's LGBTQIA+ Program and medical director for LGBTQIA+ services of the entire Providence network, shares more about how we are serving the community and our plans for expanding services. 
  • Dr. Wang appeared on KING 5's New Day Northwest to discuss the program at Providence Swedish and how we are celebrate Pride throughout the year. Watch the short video below.

Providence Swedish is committed to being a leader in providing LGBTQIA+-informed care in the Puget Sound. Through our Swedish LGBTQIAI+ Program and the initiatives we are leading, our caregivers and leaders are deeply invested in expanding access to high-quality care for LGBTQIA+ communities.

To learn more about what is on the horizon for LGBTQIA+ care and how our program is evolving and expanding, we spoke with Kevin Wang, M.D., (he/him/his) who serves as medical director for Swedish’s LGBTQIA+ Program and as clinical faculty for Swedish’s Family Medicine – First Hill and OB/GYN residency programs. Dr. Wang also serves as medical director of LGBTQIA+ services across the entire Providence network, which covers seven states. In addition, Dr. Wang also chairs an annual LGBTQIA+ continuing medial education seminar at Swedish, works with medical students from medical schools in Washington state and is a board member for the National LGBTQ Task Force.   

Watch video: Dr. Kevin Wang, medical director for Swedish's LGBTQIA+ Program and medical director for LGBTQIA+ services of the entire Providence network, on KING 5's New Day Northwest discussing Providence Swedish's LGBTQIA+ Program and how we are celebrate Pride throughout the year. 

It's Pride Month. Tell us a little about what Providence Swedish has planned. 

A Providence Swedish contingent of about 200 caregivers is going to march in the Pride Parade on June 30.  We held Pride flag raising ceremonies at all our hospital campuses to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ communities and remind ourselves of the continued work we need to do to provide comprehensive care services to our LGBTQIA+ communities. Providence Swedish also partnered with the Seattle Pride to staff the medical tents at the parade and at Pride in the Park to provide any necessary medical care to those who are celebrating  

I’d like to add while we are excited to participate in all of these events and celebrations, I want to emphasize celebrating and supporting LGBTQIA+ pride and our communities is something we should be doing all year long, including working to make sure our communities have the resources they need, as well as the safety and care we are all entitled to; this is particularly important in the current political climate, where there seems to be a new attack on the trans community, and specifically trans youth, every day. 

Caregivers at Providence Swedish's First Hill campus celebrated our June Pride flag raising.  

Tell us about the LGBTQI+ Program and who it serves. 

Swedish’s LGBTQIA+ Program is a health care and advocacy program dedicated to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our work is focused on improving access to comprehensive health care connecting patients directly with experienced and trained care teams and resources. Training clinicians and providers in LGBTQIA +-informed care is central to our mission. Our program includes practitioners from a spectrum of specialties who have undergone LGBTQIA+ competency training. We also offer care navigation for our transgender and gender diverse patients to help them navigate the complexities of accessing gender affirming care,  and ensure they receive the affirming, competent care they need. 

That being said, I want to emphasize our program is a work in progress. We are an evolving part of Swedish’s commitment to our communities within the newly formed Providence Swedish Puget Sound Region. We have much work to do to ensure the right services and care are truly available for our community. 

"Celebrating and supporting LGBTQIA+ pride and our communities is something we should be doing all year long, including working to make sure our communities have the resources they need, as well as the safety and care we are all entitled to; this is particularly important in the current political climate, where there seems to be a new attack on the trans community, and specifically trans youth, every day." - Kevin Wang, M.D.

How do patients access services? 

The program consists of four pillars: clinical support and clinical services; which includes LGBTQIA+-informed primary, specialty, and behavioral health services; data gathering and population health management; culture change; and care navigation. These are all vital because we understand the effect disparities have on LGBTQIA+ patients when they need or are seeking care. 

We have 5 full time caregivers who run our program, including our system educator and program lead, Vinny Fox (they/he) and  our transgender healthcare navigator, Mattie Mooney (they/them). Our transgender and gender diverse patients can go to our website and get connected with our patient engagement center or they contact our transgender healthcare navigator, Mattie Mooney. Through our website, patients can schedule an appointment with clinicians who have gone through training for adult hormone or adult gender affirming care.  We are also piloting and starting similar programs in the Puget Sound Northwest and Southwest regions through our new coordinators Kelse LopezdeVictoria (they/them) in the Northwest and Diana Krishna (she/her) in the Southwest. Our clinicians have also gone through nonclinical training to provide transgender and gender informed care.  We have an amazing system educator, Vinny, who I mentioned earlier, who works on education with our caregivers while Diana and Kelse will be providing training in our other Puget Sound regions.

Our website also offers a list of primary care clinicians, OBGYNs, urologists, and other specialists who have a particular interest in providing care to our transgender and gender diverse patients. 

We’ve also partnered with other clinicians to help offer these services in as many communities as possible, opening up training to our partners at Neighborcare, International  Community Health Services and PacMed.

You have a new role. Tell us about it and how you're helping to expand/enhance services across the Puget Sound region.

In addition to my role as medical director for Swedish’s LGBTQIA+ Program, I’m also now the medical director for LGBTQIA+  health services for the entire Providence system. This spans 7 states. It has a big footprint, so it’s very exciting to bring our work at Swedish to a national level. 

One of the main things we are doing is trying to figure out the best ways to bring care to those who need it but identifying how we can reduce barriers to accessing LGBTQIA+-specific healthcare services. 

Are there new initiatives/programs you can share about? 

Yes. We have several exciting initiatives under way. We are in the midst of expanding our physician training program to include clinicians throughout the Providence-Swedish and Providence systems. In an effort to expand access to gender affirming care, clinicians from other healthcare systems also attend our training session both within and outside of Washington state.

We're also going to be rolling out a training  for adolescents who may be aging out of pediatric gender clinics and who have already started hormone therapy . We also have a partnership with Seattle Children's where we do a warm handoff for patients who age out so they may continue to access gender affirming and primary care. Also on the horizon is a hair removal program for our transgender and gender diverse communities. This is difficult-to-find resource and we’ll be able to help bill Medicaid directly without requiring patients to incur a cost. We will have both laser hair removal and electrolysis to meet the needs for as many patients as possible. For more information about that keep an eye on our website or contact our clinic. 

We will also be starting a peer support group partnered with our Swedish Behavioral Health program, which will be led by Mattie Mooney, who is our transgender healthcare navigator,  in partnership with some local community-based transgender and gender diverse  community-based organizations. We're hoping to roll that out next year.

Learn more and find a physician or Advanced Care Practitioner (ACP)

If you have questions about LGBTQIA+-informed care, contact LGBTQIA+ Care or Transgender Health at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Contact Swedish Primary Care to schedule an appointment with a primary care practitioner. You can also connect virtually with your doctor to review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. And with Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections, and more. You can also use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you. 

Information for patients and visitors 

Additional resources

Investing in access to holistic health care for our LGBTQIA+ communities

Informed health care improves outcomes for LGTBQ community | The Seattle Times

How two trans community leaders are making a difference at Swedish

Working toward more compassionate and inclusive care for the LGBTQIA+ community

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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