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Internists Support Congressional Efforts to Extend Anti-Discrimination Protections to LGBT Americans

Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (March 15, 2019) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) strongly supports the Equality Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives this week. The bill would extend much needed anti-discrimination protections to LGBT individuals when it comes to accessing employment, education, credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. ACP strongly opposes discrimination in the delivery of health care services based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

As physicians, we have a responsibility to protect our patients and improve the health of all Americans, and LGBT patients are no exception. Discrimination against LGBT individuals creates social stigma that has been linked to negative physical and mental health outcomes. Inclusive policies like the Equality Act will enhance the health of well-being of LGBT individuals, their families, and communities. While progress has been made in achieving equity for LGBT persons in the health care system, the Equality Act is a positive step forward in making meaningful policy changes that will empower all patients and the physicians that treat them, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

ACP’s 2015 policy paper, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Disparities, provided recommendations to achieve equity for LGBT individuals in the health care system. These recommendations include enhancing physician understanding of how to provide culturally and clinically competent care for LGBT individuals, addressing environmental and social factors that can affect their mental and physical well-being, and supporting further research into understanding their unique health needs.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org