ACON has launched the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index, which allows health and wellbeing providers to assess, measure and improve LGBTI inclusion in their services.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index is Australia’s first instrument to annually benchmark LGBTI inclusive service provision amongst organisations in the health, human services and wellbeing sectors.

The index is administered by Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery.

Pride in Health + Wellbeing is part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives delivered by ACON including Pride in Diversity and Pride in Sport.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be an important resource for health and wellbeing service providers across Australia.

“With significant health disparities between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people and issues many LGBTI people experience in accessing important and critical health services such as perceived or previously experienced stigma, discrimination, harassment or refusal of service, this index is an instrumental tool for service providers as they seek to be more inclusive of all Australians,” Parkhill said.

“We are proud to announce the launch of this index, which builds on ACON’s decades-long experience in LGBTI health and wellbeing.

“This instrument, in addition to our Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program, will provide a much-needed resource for those seeking to ensure full inclusivity of LGBTI people within the services and programs that they offer and will assist providers in working towards the Rainbow Tick accreditation if that is their ultimate goal.”

Participation in the Pride in Health + Wellbeing program will offer service providers guidelines on how to begin to improve provision of LGBTI-inclusive services.

It will also allow providers to survey staff and users, regardless of how they identify.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index joins Pride Inclusion Programs’ other benchmarking instruments, the Pride in Sport Index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

Director of ACON’S Pride Inclusion Programs Dawn Hough said that the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be instrumental in improving service provision to LGBTI Australians in the same way the AWEI has helped shift practices in workplace inclusion.

“The feedback provided as a result of participation will allow health and wellbeing providers to not only focus their inclusion work in areas of good practice, but also determine annually what they need to do to improve,” Hough said.

“As index participation grows, the benchmarking data will provide a valuable reference in terms of current best practice as well as both qualitative and quantitative data to show improvements in their service provision.”

Participants to the index do not need to be a member of the Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program to take part.

ACON launched Pride in Health + Wellbeing in 2017, with the new benchmarking tool expanding on the program’s reach.

Submissions can be made online and close Friday 8 March 5pm, with more information about the index and how to submit available at www.prideinclusionprograms.com.au/health-index.

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