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Health Services staff trains to support LGBTQ students

May 4, 2015

NIU Gender & Sexuality Resource CenterNIU’s Health Services recently engaged in additional training to ensure that staff are best-in-class and sensitive to the needs of NIU’s diverse population.

Health Services staff received training on sensitivity for LGBTQ student needs at their spring staff development meeting.

“NIU Health Services strives to provide quality care to LGBTQ students on campus through staff education and Ally training,” said Christine Grady, director of Health Services. “Building a strong supportive relationship with the campus LGBTQ community is of utmost importance to the staff at Health Services.”

Molly Holmes, director of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, began with a presentation on LGBTQ awareness, terminology, sexual orientation vs. gender identity, and tips for interacting with LGBTQ people.

A discussion panel followed where staff were able to ask questions of current and former students who were able to provide insight into what it is like to be a student with a marginalized orientation or gender identity.

“It is about educating across the campus,” said Andrea Drott, associate director of Health Enhancement, who encouraged this connection between departments. “We need to educate the staff about the best ways to be inclusive, and then educate students that Health Services has staff who are supportive.”

Drott recognized the opportunity for this training, knowing that “when people are not feeling well they are already vulnerable. Add in the layer of LGBTQ+ identity and students may be less likely to seek services,” she said. “With education, I hope students will get the help they need.”

This same training is available to all staff at NIU, with the objective of ensuring that NIU is receptive and understanding of student needs.

by Stacey Mason Cooper, graduate student, public health