GLAA writes Board of Nursing on cultural competency training
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GLAA writes Board of Nursing on cultural competency training

Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C.  20013
(202) 667-5139  

January 14, 2011  

District of Columbia Department of Health
Health Professional Licensing Administration
Board of Nursing
717 14th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
Attn: Karen Scipio-Skinner, Executive Director

Dear Ms. Scipio-Skinner,

The Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA) is a volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization founded in 1971, with a local Washington, D.C. focus. GLAA is America's oldest continuously active organization devoted to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) civil rights.

By requiring GLBT cultural competency training for all individuals involved in the practice of nursing in D.C. (as authorized by D.C. Law # L18-0018), the District of Columbia now has a unique opportunity to improve the quality-of-care provided to GLBT individuals.

As the Board of Nursing drafts new or revised training standards and curricula, we offer GLAA?s assistance. By partnering with GLAA, the Board will increase the likelihood that draft regulations will be accepted during the public comment period, thus speeding implementation.

A recent national survey found that health-care and elder-care environments are often inhospitable to LGBT elders: “Many professional caregivers are not accepting of LGBT elders and not trained to deal properly with their unique needs. These providers might be hostile, discriminatory or simply unaware that LGBT elders exist. For example, 8.3 percent of LGBT elders reported being neglected or abused by a caretaker due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.[1]” GLAA believes this observation is as true for D.C. as it is for the nation.

Providing training standards and curricula for Nursing Assistive Personnel (NAP) is especially promising, because training standards for NAP personnel were heretofore unregulated.

On occasion, members of the GLBT community in D.C. have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of service they receive from NAP. Dissatisfaction is most acute when a NAP with little or no life-experience with GLBT individuals is tasked with providing home care for a GLBT client. This problem is exacerbated when the NAP has limited English-language skills, has recently immigrated to the U.S., or has strong religious beliefs.

We will look forward to working with you. At your earliest convenience, please contact me at work at [], at home at [], or by email at [], so we can discuss further how the Board of Nursing, HPLA, and GLAA might collaborate toward improving the provision of health care to the District?s GLBT citizens.


Mitchell Wood
President, GLAA


[1] Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders and Movement Advancement Project: “Improving the Lives of LGBT Elders”, 2010

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