Stepleman named first advocate for LGBTQ patients

AU Medical Center CEO Lee Ann Liska shakes hands with Dr. James Griffin as she and Chief Experience Officer Julie Moretz (right), congratulate Dr. Lara Stepleman and Griffin on winning the PFCC IMPACT Award for LGBTQ patient advocacy.

Dr. Lara Stepleman, a professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and director of the Medical College of Georgia Office for Faculty Success, has been named the inaugural LGBTQ Information Officer for the Center for Patients and Families at Augusta University Health. She will serve as a resource and liaison for patients, families, providers, staff, and hospital administrators to facilitate an inclusive, patient- and family-centered care environment for LGBTQ patients.

Dr. Lara Stepleman

“We believe in giving our best care to every person, on every encounter, and every time,” said Julie Moretz, chief experience officer for AU Health. “Dr. Stepleman has more than 20 years of experience in LGBTQ health disparities, including clinical, educational, and research endeavors, and we are confident that she will advocate well for patients and their families in this community.”

Dr. Stepleman and her team recently conducted the first LGBTQ health needs assessment in the CSRA, which identifies critical health concerns and needs in this community. As a co-recipient with Dr. James Griffin of the 2018 PFCC IMPACT Award, presented by the Center for Patients and Families, this project was  selected for funding because, as the title states, the project helps with “Fostering an Inclusive Patient- and Family-Centered Care Environment for Sexual and Gender Minorities at AUMC.” The $4,500 award will underwrite LGBTQ training to make it available to all staff, providers, and students associated with AU Health System.

Dr. Stepleman is also the current board co-president and director of the Behavioral Health program for the Equality Clinic of Augusta — an award-winning student-led clinic that serves underinsured and uninsured LGBTQ community members.

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Written by
Denise Parrish

Denise Parrish is Director of Communications for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic at 706-721-9760 or

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Written by Denise Parrish

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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