Supporting LGBTQIA Patients and Families

Connecticut Children’s is committed to making our patient care environment as welcoming and inclusive as possible for our patients and their families. As part of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey, our organization celebrates the steps we are taking to ensure our patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) feel a sense of belonging every time they walk through our doors.

This article provides an overview of some of the work Connecticut Children’s divisions and programs are doing to support LGBTQIA patients. We pledge to take even more steps to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment in the future. Keep reading for more…

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Connecticut Children’s Division of Pediatric Psychology is in the process of developing and implementing a number of research-based programs of work to improve care for LGBTQIA youth. Those include:

  • Melissa Santos, PhD, is working to develop national guidelines for the effective and compassionate management of transgender youth with obesity, as obesity is often cited as one of the most common reasons why gender affirming care does not continue.
  • Emily Wakefield, PsyD, is researching pain-related stigma in adolescents who have chronic pain. As part of this research, she is exploring the impact stigma has on the health outcomes of adolescents with chronic pain who identify as LGBTQIA.
  • Melissa Santos, PhD, and Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, are in the process of developing a research home to improve the medical and psychosocial outcomes of LGBTQIA youth by engaging them as equal partners in a research projects. This work seeks to achieve health equity for LGBTQIA youth by ensuring that their voices are involved in all aspects of research.

Connecticut Children’s Gender Program, led by pediatric endocrinologist Priya Phulwani, MD, provides compassionate care to children and adolescents who express a strong desire to be a gender other than the gender they were assigned at birth. For more information on the program, please visit our website

Connecticut Children’s is currently updating policies and procedures related to the care of patients who identify as LGBTQIA. We are proud to have LGBTQIA-inclusive patient and employee non-discrimination policies, which are available on our website. We also have an equal visitation policy, which is available on our website here.

diverse teenagers having fun, holding rainbow flag

Connecticut Children’s offers training courses and programs that focus on helping team members provide LGBTQIA-supportive patient-centered care. Such training programs include:

  • A video presentation by Priya Phulwani, MD, that highlights best practices for providing gender respectful care to patients.
  • Access to more than 60 training modules that focus on providing patient-centered care to patients who identify as LGBTQIA, which are produced by the Human Rights Campaign.

Connecticut Children’s also makes a variety of resources available to team members to help them build allyship for LGBTQIA colleagues and patients. Those resources include the LGBTQ Youth: How to Help Yourself or a Friend guide, which addresses the importance of mental health promotion for youth who identify as LGBTQIA. The guide also offers guidance on how to help someone who is struggling with mental health issues. It was developed by the Human Rights Campaign and the Child Mind Institute. 

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