Contributed by Carlos Smith, D.D.S., M.Div., director of diversity, equity and inclusion and the ethics curriculum and associate professor at VCU School of Dentistry

Illustrated image of a tooth overlaid over a rainbow background, a headline that says "Pride Month" and the following message: Speaking out against inequality, discrimination and their inextricable link to health disparities and inequities is something each of us can advance. We can all do our part to better care for our LGBTQ+ patients and understand the lived experiences of our LGBTQ+ friends, colleagues and patients.

Continuing on our path toward a more inclusive VCU School of Dentistry, we wanted to take a moment and reflect upon PRIDE month and recognize our LGBTQ+ community members – patients, students, staff and faculty.

PRIDE Month initially began in recognition of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ+ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. Learn more here.

Several of our School of Dentistry students have joined together to form Aligned and Allied, a student group that fills a much needed role of providing a safe and supportive space for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies here at the school. You can connect with them via social media here.

What can oral health providers and professionals do to create more inclusive care settings for patients of all genders and sexualities?

On Thursday, June 30, join the CareQuest Institute for a timely, practical webinar that discusses how to provide better care and supportive environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex, and asexual patients. Register here.

Banner image promoting a webinar hosted by CareQuest titled: Becoming an Ally: Creating an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ+ Patients. The event is on June 30, 2022, from 1-2 p.m. ET and provides 1 ADA CERP Credits. Speakers include Kelly Schroeder, RDH, MS; Alex Barrera, DDS; and Rosa Chaviano-Moran, DMD, FICD.

Here are some additional resources we should all be familiar with to better care for our patients and to understand the lived experience of our LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues:

Want more information pronouns?
Gender Pronouns: A Provider’s Guide to Referring to Transgender Patients
Pronouns and Advocacy in Medicine
The inclusivity trap? Asking patients for their pronouns helps us treat them — unless they shut down

Categories Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Schoolwide News