Posted on: March 9, 2020
Safe Zone is a university program offering ongoing education and engagement opportunities for University of South Carolina community members to explore and understand issues related to the LGBTQ+ community. Allies are registered in an online database and visibly identified with an office decal signifying a safe space to talk about issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community.
Fourteen faculty and staff members and 38 students at the UofSC College of Pharmacy joined a growing network of informed and supportive LGBTQ+ allies during a Safe Zone workshop jointly hosted by the College’s Diversity Committee and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) in February.
A sensitivity and familiarity with basic terminology for those in the LGBTQ+ community can be especially helpful for our students when it comes to interacting with patients.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the LGBTQ+ population is at increased risk for suicide, depression, HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol and drug abuse. Providers can help to mitigate these disparities and barriers to health care by learning to provide appropriate care in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
As members of the Carolina community and as healthcare professionals, we can be educated on how to appropriately address and be respectful of our patients within this community.
Morgan Grier, Pharm.D. Candidate President, Student National Pharmaceutical Association
Third-year pharmacy student Morgan Grier, who helped to organize the Safe Zone Training, first attended the training herself as a freshman. “This program educated me about the proper terminology to use when speaking about or to this specific community and especially about how to navigate difficult situations where LGBTQ+ people are being harassed or targeted on our campus,” she says. “As members of the Carolina community and as healthcare professionals, we can be educated on how to appropriately address and be respectful of our patients within this community.”
More than 700 students, faculty, staff and community members campus-wide have become certified Safe Zone allies to date.