MSK Recognized for Commitment to LGBTQ+ Community

A medal that says 2024 LBGTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader, over a photo of a person holding a small Pride flag

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader, once again receiving a maximum overall score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation on its 2024 Healthcare Equity Index (HEI).

This marks the tenth consecutive time MSK is receiving this honor.

HEI is the national benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare institutions’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients and employees. A record 1,065 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2024 HEI survey.

Scott Freeswick, Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer at MSK, expresses immense pride in the ongoing recognition of MSK as a frontrunner in fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for LGBTQ+ individuals — whether they are patients, families, visitors, or employees. Serving as the executive sponsor of MSK’s LGBTQ+ Pride Employee Resource Network (ERN), Dr. Freeswick sees this acknowledgment as a testament to the nurturing atmosphere cultivated within the organization and the commitment to delivering compassionate, high-quality healthcare. “My involvement in an institution that champions such values is a source of honor and fulfillment,” he says.

There are many ways MSK continues demonstrating its commitment to reducing disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ people and encouraging its employees to bring their authentic selves to work.

In 2024, it launched the LGBTQI+ Cancer Care Program, which is focused on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) people with cancer. MSK knows that LGBTQI+ people can face challenges in healthcare settings and has experts in caring for LGBTQI+ people who help guide them during and after cancer treatment. The goal of this program is to help people of all gender identities and sexual orientations to feel welcome and included.

Additionally, in 2021 MSK launched its sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) program, which invited new adult patients to voluntarily self-identify, capturing this information in their confidential and secure electronic medical records. The program was later expanded to include staff. Employees may voluntarily share their SOGI details, including pronouns, in their employee profiles.

“We’re proud to receive this continued recognition, which reflects the pride we all share in working at MSK,” says Beau Amaya, Director of Patient and Caregiver Education at MSK and co-leader of MSK’s LGBTQ+ Pride ERN. “Our staff celebrates diversity, and our leaders exemplify inclusion and health equity. This honor motivates us to keep driving change and making significant progress for the LGBTQ+ community.”

About HEI

HEI scores healthcare institutions on four criteria: (1) foundational nondiscrimination policies and protection for patients, visitors, and staff as well as training on LGBTQ+ inclusion; (2) inclusive LGBTQ+ patient care services and support; (3) an inclusive workplace, achieved by providing LGBTQ+-inclusive employee policies and benefits; and (4) demonstrated engagement with and public commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.