SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The UC Davis Health System announced last week that it will become the first academic health system in the country to include voluntary sexual orientation and gender identity on its standard demographic questionnaire. Doctors there said the new procedure will improve care for LGBT patients who sometimes avoid treatment out of fear of being humiliated or rejected. UC Davis Health announced the change in a press release issued June 13.
“Patients and physicians, even in the clinical setting, are not very good at talking about sex,” said Edward Callahan, professor of family and community medicine and one of the key coordinators for the new initiative. “Unfortunately, the problem is more than just one of embarrassment. LGBT individuals face significant health challenges that can be better addressed when a doctor’s office is seen as a truly welcoming and understanding environment. We’re inviting patients to voluntarily share their gender identity and sexual orientation information to help us create an atmosphere in which we’re able to provide the most knowledgeable and informed care possible.”
UC Davis Health System’s LGBT questionnaire is voluntary. It simply invites patients to declare their sexual orientation and gender identity as part of each individual’s highly confidential health record.