Mar 28, 2022 10:00 AM

Read Time: 2 minutes

Author: Garrett Harding


Human Rights Badge

The designation highlights Huntsman Cancer Institute’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and its work to foster a culture of belonging for all, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.

SALT LAKE CITY – Today the Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognized Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (U of U) as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader, awarding it the highest score possible in the 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index.

The Healthcare Equality Index is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) patients, visitors, and employees.

“This achievement represents the very best of our culture and community,” says Mary Beckerle, PhD, Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO. “Cancer affects 1 in 3 people in the United States. It does not care what you look like, where you live, who you love, or how you identify. No person, especially in a healthcare setting, should have to be concerned about being treated differently or negatively because of their sexual orientation, gender, or identity. Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to providing just and equitable healthcare to our LGBTQ+ patients and advocating for policies that end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.”  

Huntsman Cancer Institute Beacon of Hope illuminated in rainbow colors

The Healthcare Equality Index evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

  • Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care
  • LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support
  • Employee Benefits and Policies
  • Patient and Community Engagement

A committee of LGBTQ+ leaders, staff, students, and allies led the application effort, outlining how Huntsman Cancer Institute meets Healthcare Equality Index criteria through efforts such as ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with LGBTQ+ patients; collecting self-identified patient sex and gender data; ensuring access to all-gender restrooms; guaranteeing that LGBTQ+ employees receive equal treatment in health-related benefits and policies; participation in community LGBTQ+ Pride events; and other initiatives.

“Every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare, be respected and heard by their doctor, and feel safe in the facility where they are receiving care. But LGBTQ+ people are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities, which leads to members of the community avoiding care and anticipating our voices will not be respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” says Tari Hanneman, director of health and aging at the Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services. Our Healthcare Equality Index active participants are truly pioneering the healthcare industry by implementing robust, comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive policies that hopefully, because of their work, will become standard practice.”

Huntsman Cancer Institute is one of five U of U Health facilities to receive the prestigious recognition. Others include the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, University Orthopaedic Center, and U of U Hospital.

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About Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

Media Contact

Heather Simonsen
Public Relations – Huntsman Cancer Institute
Email Us
801 581-3194

equity diversity and inclusion hci proud

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital, and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. HCI is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. HCI is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

Cancer touches all of us.

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