LGTB Center at University of Louisville

Mike Miller and Jamie Sparks

Mike Miller and Jamie Sparks

Jamie and I were invited by Mike Miller, a former colleague of Jamie's at the Kentucky Department of Education to a beautiful reception at a private residence in Louisville last night to celebrate 10 years of growth for the University of Louisville's LGBT Center. It was an honor to be invited among 150 other guests celebrating the support of sexual minorities on campus.

Over the years, the Center has been ranked as the most friendly campus for sexual minorities in the South. The event hosted at Steve and Karen Hall's home was a celebration of the work the Center provides, an opportunity to connect with others advocating for all young adults and an opportunity to bring awareness of the Center and funds to sustain and grow the work its doing.  The Center works to create a safe, supportive environment for all students including hosting an Ally Campaign in which allies wear a pin demonstrating their commitment to creating a safe environment for all, safe zone training events, and opportunities for healthcare providers to add their names as LGBT-friendly. The Center works to educate, advocate, create healthy and safe learning environments where students can thrive, improving patient care at UofL affiliated healthcare settings and partake in research of LGBT health.

The LGBT Center works to strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus community at the University of Louisville, one that welcomes people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions through support, educational resources, and advocacy. The Center works in partnership with other diversity efforts on campus supporting the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs.

One of the most impressive components of this work is a national model to educate the medical students at UofL on LGBT health cultural competency and responsiveness. The program is called eQuality and you can learn more about it here. This means that when a patient is working with medical staff, of any kind, that staff has had training on how to best support their patients needs. 

This brings me back to our work in K-12 schools. As an Oregon educator, I received multiple training opportunities that built my knowledge and skills around creating a culturally competent classroom and school environment for all students, including the LGBTQ population. I know this isn't happening in most school communities around the US, but there are multiple non-profits working in this area. Teen Health Mississippi, SHIFT NC in Durham, Answer and TransActive are a few of the many organizations providing sexual health support, information, access and education to our sexual minority youth, parents and educators for the K-12 setting. 

It was great to see Stacie Steinbock, our good friend and Director of the LGBT Center Satellite Office on the Health Sciences Center Campus

It was great to see Stacie Steinbock, our good friend and Director of the LGBT Center Satellite Office on the Health Sciences Center Campus

Last night, a few people had the opportunity to talk about why they support the Center. Medical staff shared their experience and growth due to training opportunities. Kim Griffith Diamond, a parent boldly and courageously shared her story of losing her son to depression as a result of the pressures and lack of societal support of being gay. People had the opportunity to speak about why they are allies and how in truth, this all comes down to caring for all human beings, no matter who they are. It was an amazing evening of food, drink, celebration and coming together. 

There are numerous ways to show your support of the programs and policies of the LGBT Center. One way is, of course a donation. There is more information here

As a national leader in LGBT healthcare, the LGBT Center is proud to offer cutting-edge training for health care students and professionals. Our LGBT Health Certificate provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to interact successfully with LGBT patients, and demonstrates to employers and patients your commitment to serving diverse patient populations. It is free to members of the UofL community as well as all community members in Louisville and beyond.