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BackTable / VI / Podcast / Health Equity #4

Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care

with Shane Snowdon

As part of our Health Equity Series Dr. Vishal Kumar talks with Shane Snowdon about current challenges in healthcare for LGTBQ+ patients, how we can improve communication, reduce fear and misunderstanding, and be a true patient advocate, starting with our own education.

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Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care with Shane Snowdon on the BackTable VI Podcast)
Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2022, May 13). Ep. health-equity-04 – Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Shane Snowdon discusses Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care on the BackTable health-equity-04 Podcast

Shane Snowdon

Shane Snowdon is a consultant, educator, and nonprofit administrator.

Dr. Vishal Kumar discusses Optimizing LGBTQ+ Care on the BackTable health-equity-04 Podcast

Dr. Vishal Kumar

Dr. Vishal Kumar is an interventional radiologist with UCSF in California.


In this episode, guest host Dr. Vishal Kumar and educator/advocate Shane Snowdon discuss unique barriers to care for LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as strategies for healthcare providers can create nonjudgemental environments for this community.

Shane starts by outlining the history of LGBTQ+ healthcare in the United States, noting that it first came to public attention in the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. In the 2020s, the major concerns for LGBTQ+ health access have been centered around gender-affirming care for youths and adults. Shane emphasizes that the process of coming out to healthcare providers empowers LGTBQ+ individuals to “claim an identity that they had been taught to dispense and conceal.” The concern is that when they become known as LGBTQ+, will the provider and system treat them and their families with the respect and care with which they treat people who do not identify as LGBTQ+? Shane says that discrimination in healthcare makes it more likely for patients to delay their screenings and follow up appointments, leading to less engagement in care and worse medical outcomes.

Next, we shift to discuss specific patient-provider communication techniques. Shane addresses the fact that there will be moments when providers make the mistake of misgendering patients. Shane advises providers to acknowledge the mistake in the moment, apologize, and affirm the patient’s self identity. This well-meaning approach can help build trust and give the provider an opportunity to specify the patient’s preferred identifiers in the electronic health record. Furthermore, we discuss the unique role of the radiologist in providing LGBTQ+ care, as it is often radiologists who learn that someone is transgender, through imaging. Radiologists can reach out to the patient in a sensitive and respectful way and notify their colleagues of the need for clarification in the electronic medical record.

Finally, we discuss healthcare systems and the need for foundational policies, integrated education about LGBTQ+ patients across all healthcare topics, and adequate resources for LGBTQ+ staff and patients. Shane highlights the Healthcare Equality Index, a specific tool that healthcare systems can use to self-assess their level of health equity and learn additional strategies to make their care more LGBTQ+-friendly.


Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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