Pro-Equality “Culturally Relevant Healthcare Training Act” Passes Committee

Denver, CO – On March 15th, the Colorado House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee voted 9-4 to pass HB22-1267 “Culturally Relevant Healthcare Training Act” onto the House Appropriations Committee. One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, released the following statements:

“I sincerely support HB22-1267. This legislation is a necessary investment in the physical and mental health of all Coloradans, especially those marginalized by systems of power, privilege, and oppression such as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community experiences a variety of challenges regarding access to quality care. Even more, Transgender and gender-nonconforming folks face a significantly harder time finding culturally-relevant care than the general population. This is also true for LGTBQ+ folks that are intersectionally marginalized due to racism, ableism, classism, and others. As part of the LGBTQ+ community, as a trans person, as a Hispanic person, I experienced these challenges first-hand.”– Zamora Evans, (they/them) Envision:You Program Coordinator, Queer, Hispanic educator and advocate, who testified in favor of HB22-1267

“Personally, I love my job because I am able to care for patients from every corner of our state. As someone who is still learning, I wish I had the opportunity for further education to be able to better relate to these patients who may be different from myself, to be able to understand and see their health through the lens of their own culture. This bill is so vitally important to everyone who calls Colorado home because it provides the resources necessary to make cultural competency accessible and to connect leaders in these minority communities with our health care providers. This bill will make our state a leader in the country and show that Colorado believes in diversity and that right of every Coloradan to feel safe, welcome, and seen by their healthcare provider. As physician-in training, HB22-1267 will help make me better for the future as well as our medical community as a whole.”–Dr. William Tyler Crawley (he/him) General Surgery Resident and Graduate of Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, who testified in favor of HB22-1267

The road to culturally affirming care begins in health professions training, the goal of which is to shift our healthcare system to better address the needs of more patients, closing the gap in disparities between populations. Investing in Colorado’s healthcare workforce is an upstream approach to equity that will reduce health disparities by increasing access to safe and culturally affirming care.” – Dr. Sheila Davis (she/her) Director of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Health Equity, who testified in favor of HB22-1267

“This is a very necessary bill, and I am proud to be a sponsor. While I don’t think that most healthcare providers mean any harm by some of the things that they may not know, but almost 50% of transgender people in the state of Colorado have had a negative interaction with a health professional. 52% of LGBTQ Coloradans felt their primary health provider was competent. Essentially, we want to improve these numbers and ensure that every healthcare professional in Colorado has the opportunity to receive training to provide culturally responsive care. We want healthcare professionals to feel competent and confident to care for any patient they encounter. This is about being equitable and respectful. By facilitating access to provider training, we are also improving health outcomes – and that is what this is all about.”  –Representative Alex Valdez (he/him), HD-5, House Co-Prime Sponsor 

“HB22-1267 aims to address the challenges I’ve seen firsthand that many in our community face when accessing the same level of care that others of us take for granted. The bill will go a long way towards ensuring that LGBTQ folks, racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, and those with complex behavioral health needs will be able to access the same level of high quality health care that our healthcare professionals strive to deliver day in and day out.”–Representative Andrew Boesenecker (he/him), HD-53, House Co-Prime Sponsor 

“All Coloradans, particularly communities with long standing health disparities rooted in the legacy of historical marginalization, deserve safe and respectful healthcare from professionals they can trust, who are trained to be responsive to their specific needs.” –Meredith Gleitz (she/her), One Colorado Policy Manager

“As a mental health therapist, most of my colleagues in the field can agree that during our training in graduate school, Ph.D. programs, and medical school we do not receive essential training to work with individuals who possess intersecting and disadvantaged identities. This investment to encourage enhanced training is essential to improve the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans.”–Steven Haden (he/him), Envision:You CEO & Co-founder and mental health therapist with Queer Asterisk

The bill creates a $1 million grant program to fund the development of culturally relevant, affirming healthcare training programs for healthcare providers. Training programs will be created by approved nonprofits and will be available to all licensed, certified, or registered healthcare professionals. These training programs will focus on providing care to priority populations identified in the bill, including but not limited to LGBTQ individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities. 

As the 2022 legislative session progresses, One Colorado will continue advocating for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families.