Note's from the Dean's Desk


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Marie Ann Marino, EdD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor, Thomas Jefferson University - College of Nursing 
Vice President, Nursing Academic Partnerships & Innovation - Jefferson Health

Addressing Health Challenges Faced by LGBTQ+ Communities with Inclusive Excellence

The unique health and well-being challenges faced by LGBTQ+ communities are a focal point for education, research, and innovation at Jefferson – a point of special pride for me as Dean of Jefferson College of Nursing (JCN). Our progressive approach in the field is worth highlighting as March culminates the JCN faculty and staff professional development training series around inclusive practice implementation; everyone at JCN is now able to create immediate and long-term goals around how they can help to contribute to inclusive excellence for Sexual and Gender Diverse (SGD) populations in the classroom and clinical practice environments.

Since 2016, the National Institute of Health designated Sexual and Gender Minorities (LGBTQ+) as a health disparity population. This past fall, JCN embarked on a journey to facilitate education, training, and growth in LGBTQ+ health and cultural safety with all of JCN’s reach: students, patients, colleagues, and the community. Under the leadership of Associate Professor Karla A. Bell, PT, DPT, PhD(c), all faculty and staff engaged in four modules of LGBTQ+ health considerations for students and patients and continue to move forward with individual and College-wide action plans with the goal of inclusive and culturally responsive teaching, advising, and practice.

The LGBTQ+ Community Progress Pride Flag

In 2019, a transdisciplinary research team at Jefferson created a landmark interdisciplinary professional development program under the leadership of Dr. Audrey Zapletal,  Dr. Karla A. BellDr. Susan Toth-Cohen, and Dr. Tracey Vause Earland, This transdisciplinary team created the pioneering Professional Development Program for Sexual and Gender Minority Education and Training (SG-MET for short). 

This innovative, interdisciplinary development program – involving the entire Jefferson enterprise – helps educators, administrators, staff, and healthcare providers better understand, educate, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. It incorporates six structured learning sessions – six-months – covering topics from inclusive practices in advising, teaching, and practice to health disparity/equity content. There are also six mentoring sessions with SG-MET faculty.

While other universities offer educational workshops dealing with LGBTQ+ health equity and cultural safety, Jefferson’s is interdisciplinary and built on best practices of professional development pedagogy for sustained impact.

For more information please click the link below.

Addressing some of the root causes of the staggering health and healthcare disparities that exist for LGBTQ+ populations is critical to having long-term impacts on the health and well-being of these communities. Inclusive and culturally responsive care is vital to helping mitigate some of these factors, as a 2022 survey shows. JCN is proud to lead the way in education and training for impact in better health and well-being for LGBTQ+ populations.

Here are sources for additional information on these issues: