Southern Arizona VA (SAVAHCS) takes Pride in Serving All Who Served. For employees, celebrating the LGBT and related identities community is a year-round affair.
The Southern Arizona VA courtyard at dawn. On the grass are paper flowers made by VA staff. They represent each transgender person killed in the U.S. in 2019.
From the Health Fair, June Pride Month specific events and every November, they hold a ceremony for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
VA is dedicated to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion. We strive for the deepest roots of inclusion and diversity within VA. We facilitate bringing about understanding, education and awareness to remove barriers for the VA LGBT and related identities community.
The facility encompasses this motto early upon hire. At orientation, the hospital welcomes, supports and educates all new employees about VA directives of diversity and inclusivity.
Topics include supporting and promoting VA allies to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and related identities employees and Veterans. Additionally, new employees are provided with Pride lapel pins that say, “We Serve ALL Who Served,” and “Safe Zone” stickers.
We have a robust LGBT Committee at our facility including an LGBT Veteran Care coordinator, physicians, pharmacy, social work, nursing, support staff and administration representatives from inpatient and outpatient areas.
Links to information and services
You can find your local facility’s LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator to learn more about your facility’s events, programs, and available health care services or visit Patient Care Services LGBT Health program office for more information.
Southern Arizona VA has a Transgender/Gender Diverse Clinic led by Dr. Jennifer Flynn. She and her team work on issues such as events, policies for transgender and gender diverse care, and enhancing processes for better transgender care within the facility.
Dr. Flynn helped develop a national training series titled, “Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse Veterans in VHA.” She also participates in numerous webinars on transgender care, including the VA Women’s Health Inter-Professional Monthly Webinar series.
VA employees participate in a Transgender Day of Remembrance event.
Her team also holds monthly support group video calls to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading from the front
Due to Covid-19, leadership turned their focus on innovative ways to continue to support the facility’s LGBT program. They hosted a virtual USO-style drag show featuring local community drag kings and queens.
They submitted virtual performances for Tucson’s virtual Pride celebration that incorporated a socially distanced Pride photo booth and an office Pride decoration contest.
Read, follow and view photos about the festivities of SAVAHCS’s past events on the Facebook page.
At VA, we proudly lead the effort to build a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment.
We do this by developing and implementing policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we strive to ensure that VA’s workforce is drawn from the broadest segments of society.
This ensures that it is poised to meet the present and future needs of our Nation’s Veterans, their families and beneficiaries. All Veterans are welcome at VA, including those who have minoritized sexual or gender identities.
Veterans who have minoritized sexual or gender identities have faced stigma and discrimination, which can affect health. As a health care institution, we need to work to make sure that Veterans with LGBT and related identities know that they are welcome at VA.
Find your local facility’s LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator.
Visit Patient Care Services LGBT Health program office for more information on available health care services, factsheets, online training, policies, research and resources.
Patrick Powers-Lake is the LGBT Veteran care coordinator and patient safety manager for the Southern Arizona VA.