For the month of June we are spotlighting some of our amazing caregivers each week that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and sharing what Pride month means to them.
Check in each week to see the newest spotlight!
As a member of the Swedish Academic Affiliations Team, Swedish Program Coordinator Matthew Eng knows the importance of support. In his position at Swedish since 2018, he helps onboard students from over 100 schools and universities nationwide to gain real life experience at Swedish, with over 1,500 students both clinical and nonclinical arriving at our campuses annually.
Support is also something he finds at home as well, with his husband and son, and a value that he is reflecting on this Pride Month. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Matthew says he begins the month of Pride with self-reflection and appreciation for the life he has. He’s also grateful that he can be his authentic self around others.
Pride is also an opportunity to reflect on how healthcare supports the LGBTQIA+ community, and the work we have ahead. For Matthew, he says he thinks of the bad experiences he had with healthcare received many years ago, and the hesitation or fear that can come with an LGBTQIA+ family, like his, switching providers, unsure of support they will receive.
As Matthew highlights, healthcare must continue to build off the ongoing work supporting LGBTQIA+ patients, our community, and gender-affirming healthcare. That is why the work of Swedish’s OHEDI office and the LGBTQI+ Initiative continues to be essential moving forward (caregivers can read more on those efforts here).
Matthew says it’s a privilege to work with the amazing Swedish Academic Affiliations team and the Clinical Education and Practice department in supporting our students. Outside of doing this important work with students at Swedish, Matthew is a big movie fan and has a degree in film and television. He is excited to finally be able to return to movie theaters and see stories with LGBTQIA+ representation on the big screen.
His family’s favorite movie right now is “The Mitchells vs. The Machines.” But other days, he says it’s nice to “have a break and watch something big, loud and fun.” When that’s the case, Matthew turns to movies like “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Matthew, thank you for the work you do to support education of the future of healthcare at Swedish, and happy Pride Month!
Mattie Mooney (they/them/their) joined the Swedish LGBTQI+ Initiative team as the senior program coordinator of Transgender Health in March. Their work focuses on leading Swedish efforts to better support our gender diverse and transgender patients as they access care across Swedish.
Mattie is a trans health educator and advocate and a racial equity community organizer who is already established as a leader for the gender diverse and transgender patients in our region and state.
Recently, Mattie participated in a Swedish Pride event and recorded a video describing patient experiences and explaining the trans health care navigator program. In the video they were honest about the program and its goals, explained why the program is so important and shared a few stories of what they do and how it impacts community.
Please view the video here: Watch '2021 Pride Patient Stories by Mattie Mooney' | Microsoft Stream
In their role, Mattie acts as an intermediary between patients and their access to health care services. For the trans and gender diverse community, it is not always easy to find or access gender-affirming providers, so Mattie is in this position to make sure patients are connected with providers who meet their needs.
As someone who is also part of the trans community, Mattie understands the importance of being able to see yourself reflected in those who support you and feeling like they have your best interest at heart. “This is not just a job for me; this is real life. It’s what I live every day. I want to make sure that the people contacting me or getting services from me feel like they have an ally and accomplice in their corner, not because they are to be, but because they are trans as well and have had to navigate through the same systems and resources for care. It’s rewarding for me because I live it and it feels like a natural decision to support my community. I mean, why wouldn’t I share the info I’ve learned through the years with my community?” Mattie says.
Mattie ensures members of our community are provided resources and access, that they are treated respectfully and competently, and that they have the tools and information to make informed decisions about their care.
Mattie says that Pride is about resilience, disruption for the good of community and pushing past fear. "It's about getting stuff done,” they say.
Thank you, Mattie, for the work you do supporting our gender-diverse and transgender patients.
As a Swedish supervisor, Ariana Wolfe makes it her personal mission to create and encourage culture in her clinics. Her secret weapon? "Kindness cards."
Originally, Ariana would leave cards with kind, encouraging messages on her colleagues’ desks, but soon enough, everyone was passing the cards to each other and uplifting spirits.
For Pride Month, Ariana also hopes we can continue to pass kindness, as well as education, around to each other.
To Ariana, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Pride Month is a time to celebrate and educate. She believes it can be both a personal and a public experience. It’s a time to celebrate individuality, but also a time to educate people, such as parents and peers, on individual identities.
She believes Pride Month is a time to let others know you are part of the community, but it can also be more open and inclusive, especially for BIPOC people. After the last year's events, Ariana says it’s important to emphasize LGBTQIA+ is a home to BIPOC too.
Ariana compared her love for travel to Pride, stating. "Traveling gives you the unique experience to learn about different cultures and people with an open mind, as you should with Pride," she says. She believes it’s important to always try to learn more, whether that is about a different culture or someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Ariana joined Swedish in 2016. She studied psychology in school and worked at a crisis clinic before joining the pediatric team in West Seattle. Ariana loves the West Seattle community and is proud of the work they do every day.
Ariana says her clinic wants to create a safe space for everyone and to effectively have complex conversations with the younger generation.
“My provider panel is very pro-LGBTQIA+ and one question I keep hearing is how we want to learn more about having conversations with kids on gender identity... I am proud to be able to be part of the younger generation's ability to have more open conversations with providers and contribute to my community,” Ariana says.
Thank you, Ariana, for your commitment to our younger patients and to our LGBTQIA+ community!
Antonio’s passion for helping others led him to his role at Swedish coordinating and managing various RN cohorts. He looks forward to the success of program participants, as he feels a sense of pride in empowering and equipping the next generation of healthcare professionals. He is also a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
For Antonio, Pride means celebration, reflection, and education. Celebration as a means to express gratitude and happiness in who you are and the freedom to do that.
Reflection to honor those who came before to pave the way to the progress made so far. “Reflecting on Stonewall, legalization of gay marriage, and the work that others have done is important, and it’s amazing to see people such as our LGBTQIA+ youth live in a world where they can fully express themselves,” he says.
And lastly, education, as Antonio explains, “It’s important to educate ourselves since there isn’t clear history taught in school and you have to go seek out information with documentaries and stories. We have to do our part in understanding our roots, the political atmosphere, LGBTQIA+ health disparities, and many other areas.”
Antonio is proud of the achievements that have been made to date but knows there is more work to do.
“We have to acknowledge that the fight is not over yet, and it takes all of us in the community with our allies to keep striving toward progress," Antonio says.
Thank you, Antonio, for your commitment to our patients and to our LGBTQIA+ community!
Antonio was featured on our internal channels and social media channels the second week of June.