Creating the Standards of Inclusion


According to data and literature research by RHI staff members, although Minnesota has strong protections for LGBTQ individuals, there are still many Minnesotans experiencing discrimination in healthcare settings.
This discrimination negatively impacts the health of our community by alienating patients from providers. Tobacco, obesity, and mental illness, are all huge health issues for the LGBTQ community which require close relationships with providers to develop culturally congruent treatment plans. With this knowledge in mind, the RHI staff used this information to develop an initial draft of the Standards of Inclusion.
The draft was then presented to the Advisory Board for review. It was very important to this project that decisions be led by members of our community. It was also important that the Advisory Board leverage their knowledge and experiences to make the standards specific to Minnesota. The advisory board have met quarterly since September 2016 to review and revise the Standards of Inclusion. Through this process we have identified three key areas which have shaped our policy recommendations for health providers throughout the state.




Improving the knowledge of health providers to be aware of LGBTQ health issues, our history and culture, as well as preferred communication methods. There are also requirements regarding core competencies for health providers in all fields such as medical, mental, and non-traditional healthcare. These standards not only impact providers but also front line staff such as receptionists, intake specialists, maintenance workers, etc. This way all staff have the skills to support the health of our community.


Creating inclusive safe environments for the LGBTQ community within healthcare settings. These standards address environmental and structural barriers for LGBTQ individuals when accessing health. Things such as LGBTQ health information within lobbies, bathroom facilities for all genders, prominently displaying patient protections within client facing areas, etc. These policy recommendations promote the creation of spaces which welcome all Minnesotans.


Ensuring that LGBTQ patients and clients receive the highest quality of care throughout the state. Inclusive language on intake forms, patient advisory councils, and community engagement are some of the standard recommendations that fall into this category.


The project continues to develop and will undergo further revision as we invite input from members of our community throughout the state. Look for news of these developments in the upcoming months!


To stay informed and updated on the Standards of Inclusion and other Rainbow Health Initiative projects and events, sign up for our e-newsletter:

Join our email list!