Safe Zone Trainings Help Build An Inclusive Health Workplace
The Health Sciences Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion promotes increased awareness of LGBTQ+ issues with activities that cultivate empathy.
"Across Drachman Hall, workspaces were intermittently decorated with signs emblazoned with a bright pink triangle; light blue and pink stripes; and rainbow squares. They were enough to pique the interest of a program coordinator named Matt Peters.
Chris Sogge, College of Nursing academic advisor, leads a Safe Zone inclusive health care workshop at Banner – University Medical Center, where more than 1,500 people have received this training.“I had seen people’s Safe Zone signs, the placards people put in their offices and cubicles,” recalled Peters, now administrative and strategic affairs coordinator for the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. “That sparked my curiosity.”
Peters learned about Safe Zone workshops, designed to cultivate a safer, more inclusive atmosphere for LGBTQ+ people on campus. He quickly signed up.
“So much of our education and scientific research is moving toward collaborative models,” Peters said. “The more we connect with people who have been excluded in the past, the better off our world is, and the better off all of us are.”
While Safe Zone workshops are available on main campus and from the College of Medicine – Tucson, the University of Arizona Health Sciences Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offers LGBTQ+ Safe Zone training specific to the larger Health Sciences community in Tucson.
“A climate that is inclusive for all, where people feel a sense of belonging, is important, especially in a health care setting,” said Lydia Kennedy, MEd, senior director of the Health Sciences Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “As I say in the trainings, ‘You’re in the business of healing, not hurting.’”