256072 Heathcare workplace disclosure of LGBT identity: Survey of Physician Asssistants

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tiffany A. Ewton, MPH, PA , College of Education and Health Sciences/Public Health Department, Touro University, Vallejo, CA
Elena O. Lingas, DrPH, MPH , College of Education and Health Sciences, Touro University California, Vallejo, CA
Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health care providers have historically faced discrimination despite inclusive policy statements by professional organizations such as the American Medical Association. To date, LGBT discrimination studies have been conducted with physicians and nurses. This is the first study assessing the workplace environments of physician assistants (PAs) regarding disclosure of LGBT status. The purpose is to describe workplace culture and attitudes, and to evaluate awareness of workplace and professional policies regarding LGBT discrimination. Methods: A survey was sent to 175 PAs across the U.S. Chi-square tests, Odds Ratio, and Fisher Exact Test were used for statistical analysis. Results: The response rate was 33%; 58 surveys were included in the study. Respondents were primarily female, 30-39 years old and worked in suburban, outpatient settings. Physician assistants had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards LGBT providers. The majority of respondents were not aware of relevant policy statements from professional organizations nor at the institutions they worked. A significant association existed between policy awareness and LGBT inclusivity (p<0.025) and confidence reporting anti-gay harassment (P = 0.017). Predictors of LGBT inclusivity at work included age (p<0.05) and specialty (P = 0.039). Respondents were split in their estimation of whether a practice would experience patient loss after provider disclosure of an LGBT identity. Implications: Despite improved attitudes, discrimination still exists and is linked to policy standards and awareness. In addition to policy change, improved work conditions and, ultimately, patient care may require visible support of LGBT providers from top management.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe historical attitudes in medicine towards LGBT providers 2. Describe PA perceptions of workplace attitude and culture toward LGBT health providers 3. Discuss policy change, awareness and integration issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity within healthcare

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have recently become a Physician Assistant and will be working in the healthcare industry. I completed this research in 2011 as a student in a Master's Public Health program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.