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No two people have the same health care needs. Characteristics like sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural connections, and language can all have an impact on, not only medical needs but treatment outcomes. Last month, the Colorado Health Institute published a report highlighting the demand for culturally responsive care to more adequately meet the diversity of patient needs in the state.
To help in northern Colorado, Banner Health recently welcomed Michael Renecle, DO, to the team in Greeley. While not specifically hired to focus on LGBTQI+ care, Dr. Renecle recently completed a fellowship in Denver focused on HIV medicine, transgender health as well as sexual health and is dedicated to providing culturally responsive health care to successfully address the needs of this under-supported community.
According to a survey by One Colorado, roughly one-third of LGBTQIA+ individuals in Colorado believe they do not have adequate access to health care providers who understand their needs and less than half said they have access to LGBTQIA-competent providers. As a result, 67% of survey respondents feared their provider assumes them to be heterosexual.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community himself, Dr. Renecle is passionate about expanding the diversity of care and understands that topics such as social perspective and self-identification are important indicators for risk, care, and treatment. Making patients comfortable by asking open-ended questions, avoiding assumptions, and showing genuine interest in the details not only results in the best care but builds patient trust.
“It’s important that a primary care doctor understands not only medical history but who their patients are holistically,” Dr. Renecle said. “We need to know where they live, how they identify, what makes them get up in the morning, and what experiences they’ve had that have brought them to this stage of life. That is how we truly provide the best care.”