Front of the Augusta University Medical Center.
Augusta University Medical Center building.

Augusta University Health System named leader in LGBTQ health care equality

Augusta University Health has been named a top performer in health care equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights.

Augusta University Medical Center received the designation in the 2019 Healthcare Equality Index, the foundation’s benchmarking tool that reviews health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of LGBTQ patients, guests and employees.

“I am delighted that we have earned the status as a national top performer by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, as this designation demonstrates our commitment to our LGBTQ community,” said Julie Moretz, chief experience officer and associate vice president of Patient and Family-Centered Care for Augusta University Health. “Our goal is to ensure that all patients and guests at AU Health experience the tenets of patient- and family-centered care.”

The Healthcare Equality Index evaluates medical centers on four criteria, including non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies and patient and community engagement.

More than 1,600 health care facilities nationwide were evaluated in the HEI, and Augusta University Medical Center ranked second in Georgia just behind the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

Augusta University is home to the award-winning Equality Clinic, Augusta’s first medical facility dedicated to serving the under- and uninsured LGBTQ community. The university also has a host of additional diversity and inclusion initiatives. A highlight this year was naming Dr. Lara Stepleman as the AU Health LGBTQ information officer in the Center for Patients and Families to act as a resource and liaison to facilitate an inclusive, patient- and family-centered care environment for LGBTQ patients.

Launched in 2007, the HEI was created to help health care facilities become more inclusive and sensitive in providing LGBTQ patient-centered care to diminish the fear of discrimination or refusal of care. See the 12th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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