Addressing the unique needs of diverse patient populations

Penn State Health is advancing unique programs to support diverse patient populations.

Penn State Health Inclusion Academy – Dimensions of Diversity

The Penn State Health Inclusion Academy provides employees with educational opportunities that help them understand different aspects of diversity. These can include race, culture, ethnicity, background, experiences, religion, intergeneration, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. 

Each Inclusion Academy series offers lectures and workshops led by subject matter experts. 

Dimensions of Diversity

  • Focuses on health inequalities based on characteristics of diversity and discusses the best ways to improve health equity. 
  • Provides an opportunity to learn, discuss and share knowledge and experiences to better understand our differences and create a culture of inclusion. 
  • Based on the topic and speaker, these sessions may offer CME and PSNA credits.

The following are the upcoming events for the Dimensions of Diversity series:

Fostering Health Equity for Autistic Patients
Thursday, March 23, 2023 
4-5 p.m.

Caanen Churukha, program manager of disability and inclusion, and Cheryl Richardson, senior director of clinical nursing excellence, offer an overview of providing health equity for patients with autism.



Building Health Equity for the LGBTQ+ Community
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
4-5 p.m.

Lindsey Lughes of the LGBT Center of Central PA discusses building health equity by addressing health disparities and intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ patient population.



Addressing Challenges and Opportunities to Better Serve LGBTQ+ Youth
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Noon-1 p.m.
University Conference Center, Room 302 B&C

Explore how to better serve LGBTQ+ youth in the health care environment with Lindsey Lughes of the LGBT Center of Central PA.



Differences and Similarities in Fostering Health Equity and Inclusive Interactions with Patients and Staff from Nigeria
Thursday, June 22, 2023
4-5 p.m.

Explore the cultural similarities and differences in fostering inclusive interactions in serving the basic medical needs of Nigerian patients.


Skin care clinics

Close-up of woman with healthy, glowing skin smiling in the sunlight.The Department of Dermatology has established a skin care clinic for patients of color. Dr. Claire Hollins focuses on hair and scalp disorders, best hair care practices and hyperpigmentation after inflammation. She is seeing patients by appointment only at Penn State Health Medical Group ─ Camp Hill Specialties (717-761-8900) and Penn State Health Medical Group ─ Nyes Road Specialties (717-657-4045). 

The Dermatology Department is also creating a skin care program for the transgender community. 

Gender Health Clinic

The Gender Health Clinic at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides gender-affirming care for children, adolescents and young adults. LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are an underserved and often misunderstood group. Finding medical providers who understand and support the needs of transgender and gender-diverse youth can be particularly difficult, and patients often hesitate to seek care due to fears about how they will be treated.

The Gender Health Clinic is a collaborative effort within the departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, and the divisions of Adolescent Medicine and Pediatric Endocrinology. It is located in the Briarcrest Clinic at 905 W. Governor Road, 2nd floor, Hershey.

Read the article “Treating transgender patients with dignity, respect important as number grows.

Amy Keisling, Gender Health Clinic coordinator, poses with artwork created by a young transgender artist. The artwork includes the sentence, “I am not a burden,” in capital letters.
Amy Keisling, Gender Health Clinic coordinator, poses with artwork created by a young transgender artist.

Language Interpreter Services 

Penn State Health is committed to addressing the needs of our patients who speak different languages, including sign language, and is working to develop a strong systemwide program. Patients who need a language interpreter can contact Patient Relations:

Overcoming health disparities improves health opportunities for all

Penn State Health recognizes implementing research-based programs that provide fair access to health care for all populations ensures everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a long and healthy life. Our goal is to eliminate health disparities – differences in health outcomes and their causes – among various groups of people. This includes seeking diversity in clinical trials and research. See more about Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Cancer Institute.