TOMAH, Wisc. – This week, Tomah VA Medical Center is joining the observance of the 21st National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, reaffirming and celebrating VA’s commitment to serve all Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivor beneficiaries, including those of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.
National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week is a nationwide initiative led by the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health. It is intended to help the health care community advocate for reducing barriers to LGBTQ+ persons by creating and maintaining safe, inclusive, and welcoming environments—and ensuring quality, accessible and non-discriminatory care.
“This week is an opportunity to start meaningful, honest conversations about how we can best meet the health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Tomah VA Medical Center Director Karen Long. “At Tomah VA, we stand ready to help LGBTQ+ Veterans connect with care, learn about resources, and celebrate the Veteran they are. Our commitment to respectful, affirming care is unwavering.”
To mark the start of the week, Tomah VA staff placed a VA Pride banner at the medical center’s main entrance (below). According to Sierra Phillips, LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator at Tomah VA, the week is a chance to highlight the unique health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community while leaning into conversations about sexual health, gender affirming care, and personal identity, and more.
“In addition to having conversations about how to personalize care, this week is also about celebrating the strength and diversity LGBTQ+ Veterans bring to the health care system,” said Phillips. “We’re proud to join the national conversation about health care needs and raise visibility that health care inequity has been a tragic reality for LGBTQ+ people. Open conversation about the services VA offers helps connect Veterans with care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives.”
In addition to social media outreach, Tomah VA is promoting a host of internal engagement efforts including virtual “lunch and learn” staff education events, distribution of Pride lanyards and pronoun pins, and the promulgation of Pride-centered posters and flyers.
TOMAH, Wisc. (March 22, 2023) A VA Pride banner is displayed at the main entrance of the Tomah VA Medical Center. Tomah VA Medical Center is joining the observance of the 21st National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, reaffirming and celebrating VA’s commitment to serve all Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivor beneficiaries, including those of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.
About Tomah VA Medical Center
The Tomah VA Medical Center is located on a 174-acre campus in Tomah, Wisconsin and serves approximately 28,000 veterans in 16 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Tomah VA has four outpatient clinics located in La Crosse, Owen, Wisconsin Rapids, and Wausau.
The Tomah VA specializes in medicine, mental health, whole health, and long-term care. Medicine services include acute inpatient care at Tomah and primary care at all locations. A range of specialty services are provided at Tomah and are being migrated to outpatient clinics through on-site and telehealth. Information about the Tomah VA can be found at www.va.gov/tomah-health-care.
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