Rush unveils center for LGBTQ+ healthcare

Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center has launched a center that aims to offer safe, accessible and comprehensive care to people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and other sexual identities, or LGBTQ+.

The Affirm: The Rush Center for Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Health, launched Jan. 21, offers access to primary care for all age groups, behavioral health services, gender-affirming clinical services, specialty care and surgery.

Many studies have shown that members of the LGBTQ+ community face increased health risks, including a 2017 study published in Cureus, which shows LGBT youth are at a higher risk for substance use, sexually transmitted diseases, cancers and anxiety and depression, among other conditions.

The studies also show that LGBT youth receive poor healthcare care due to stigma or lack of awareness or insensitivity among healthcare providers.

"Patients often don't know where to turn when seeking medical care, and the prospect of having a negative experience can be daunting, turning them away from getting help," said Ravi Iyengar, MD, the center's co-medical director. "That's when health suffers. By navigating patients to affirming and competent providers, we are advocating for their health and ultimately closing these gaps in care."

The center will also conduct education and research alongside providing clinical services.

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