It’s your choice who you share your authentic self with—and it’s your doctor’s responsibility to create a safe environment where you feel comfortable. Having an open and honest talk with your doctor could give them a better understanding of the type of care you should receive.
Getting to know you
One of the most important reasons for having a designated primary care provider (PCP) is so they can get to know you and your health history. Everyone’s story is unique and helps direct the care plan that’s right for each person. Your gender identity and sexuality are a big part of your health history.
Dr. Nicole Thomas-Sealey, vice president of clinical training and education at AdvantageCare Physicians*, shared a story of a patient who hadn’t disclosed his health journey. “When he first came into my office, I could immediately feel the tension in the room,” she said.
After encouraging him to share his story, she learned that he was assigned female at birth but identified as male. He hadn’t told her because he had a difficult coming out experience and wasn’t initially comfortable saying he was transgender.
“If I had not asked the question, several doors would have been closed to services and options that a patient should know about,” Dr. Thomas-Sealey said. “[Once I knew his medical history,] I was able to share with him that he should consider a mammogram because it’s still important to check for something that may not be normal. He was open to the suggestion, and we ended up having a really good conversation.”
Do it for your health
Dr. Thomas-Sealey has developed cultural competency training programs to teach clinical staff how to better identify and overcome unconscious bias and improve communication with patients. She understands how difficult these conversations may be, but stresses how crucial they are to your health.
If your doctor doesn’t encourage you to share your story, don’t be afraid to open up on your own. You should always advocate for your health. In doing so, you open the door for your health care team to step in and advocate on your behalf.
Find your care team
It’s important to find a health care team that makes you feel comfortable and with whom you can be totally honest. Are you looking for a PCP? ConnectiCare members can use our website or call the number on their member ID card to find in-network care near them. Once you have someone you can trust, we hope you’ll bravely share your story to receive the best care possible.
And if you have questions or concerns about coming out or need other social services, please call the number on your member ID card and ask to speak with our Care Management team.
ConnectiCare rejects racism, prejudice, and bigotry of all kinds. We strive to recognize our unconscious biases and learn from them. We work to foster inclusion and equity and are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment as we care for our members and communities.
*Both ConnectiCare and AdvantageCare Physicians are part of the EmblemHealth family of companies.