While Seattle is one of America’s most progressive cities, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community can still be subject to crimes and discrimination. To offer support to members of the community feeling harassed or in danger, UW Medicine recently became a member of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) Safe Place program and converted all its single-stall bathrooms to gender-neutral.
Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, UW Medical Center and four neighborhood clinics are participating in the program, and each facility runs the program in its own way. UW Medicine will be training staff on the SPD Safe Place protocol and guidelines within a health care facility.
A rainbow badge at a facility’s entrance denotes participation in the program, and those who seek to get assistance through SPD Safe Place will be able to call the police and wait for an officer to assist. The mission of the program is to further grow the relationship between the LGBTQ community and local organizations.
UW Medicine’s participation in the Safe Place program came through the health system’s LGBT Clinical Care Advisory Committee, which has spent more than two years working to address clinical competency and outreach.
Hospitals and health systems are widely known places where members of the community can come to get help. In the most traditional sense, these institutions treat health ailments, but the expansion to offering support to those in crisis offers another facet of care that can positively serve the community. Click here to read more about UW Medicine’s participation the Seattle Safe Place program in a news story and click here to read more about SPD’s Safe Place program. (Tim Pfarr)