The Ally Project: Unified in our purpose; strengthened by our differences

Latest News, Topics, What You Should Know

A year ago, Phil Incarnati, President/CEO of McLaren Health Care (MHC), addressed all MHC employees following the tragic death of George Floyd, stating, “There remains much work to do and more conversations to be had in order to address the continued inequities that exist in our society today.”  But this tragic event and subsequent civil unrest wasn’t the catalyst; the work at McLaren was already underway. A year before, MHC had launched the Executive Diversity Council, tasking each subsidiary to have an inclusive and equitable environment where everyone is valued and empowered for success. 

In October 2020, McLaren Port Huron launched a Diversity and Inclusion Committee with representation from various departments and disciplines. They reviewed local data to identify differences in health between different groups of people and set goals that focused on our workforce, our patients, and our community. Throughout the first year, the committee celebrates different cultures and provides education of diversity & inclusion issues, specifically those of the LGBTQ+ community.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community often struggle for healthcare equity due to lack of understanding, stigma, or discrimination, contributing to increased health risks and worse outcomes. According to a 2011 study of more than 6,000 transgender Americans, 33% delayed preventative care due to fear of discrimination, 28% postponed seeking medical care when sick, and 19% were refused care. 

McLaren Port Huron believes sexual orientation or gender identity should never be a barrier to receiving excellent health care. Following the core objectives of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s National LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), McLaren Port Huron will be seeking designation as an LGBTQ+ inclusive facility in 2022. HEI is the national benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities' policies and best practices in LGBTQ patient centered care in four key areas: non-discrimination and staff training; patient services and support; employee benefits and policies; and patient and community engagement.

The McLaren Port Huron Foundation’s new initiative, The Ally Project, will support this journey to create an equitable and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ patients, staff, and community members.