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Posted August 31, 2023 by Meagan Mafield, NRCMA
Listen to this episode of the Healthy Vitals Podcast.
In this episode, we explore the Rainbow Tour, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at promoting education and awareness about the proper use of pronouns and understanding SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). Visit summahealth.org/rainbow and fill out the form to get involved.
Scott Webb (Host): When it comes to LGBTQ+ topics and sensitivity, education is key for many of us to understand things like the use of pronouns. And I'm joined today by Meagan Mafield. She's the Practice Manager at the Summa Health Pride Clinic, and she's here today to tell us about the Rainbow Tour and how she and her colleagues are working together to educate folks at Summa Health and all the communities that it serves.
This is Healthy Vitals, a podcast from Summa Health. I'm Scott Webb.
Meagan, thanks so much for your time today. We're going to learn about the Rainbow Tour and what you do and how that works and how folks can get involved if they want to. But just before we get there and get rolling, uh, tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do at Summa Health?
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: Well, I'm a Practice Manager for Summa. I have four practices that I run. I have two family medicine offices, one is internal medicine. I also have pain management. And then I run our Summa Pride Clinic, pretty much the day-to-day operations, the ins and outs of each practice.
Host: Yeah. That's awesome. And I know that having worked with Summa for a long time, I know they're really big on, you know, finding out what the community needs and serving those needs. And sounds like you have very, very busy days. It sounds like you're very active and very involved and lots to do. So let's talk specifically about the Rainbow Tour. Tell us about it.
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: So Summa Pride Clinic opened in September of 2019. We're actually coming up on our four year birthday here. We had done a needs assessment and it was pretty clear that there were some services needed within the LGBTQ community with family medicine and all the things that go into healthcare for that community.
What we also found out is that we needed to be educating staff, businesses outside of Summa on kind of what that meant. The Rainbow Tour was unable to kind of take off in the beginning because of COVID. COVID put a lot of restrictions on what we could do, getting out there in the community.
So 2023, the beginning of this year, when all of the restrictions were lifted, we were able to kind of put boots to the ground. Myself and Pam, who is my RN here at Pride, put together a Rainbow Tour flyer. And we get out there and we provide education and information on the proper use of pronouns, how to address others, education surrounding SOGI, which is sexual orientation and gender identity, and what those differences are, how to document those in inside of Epic. And, just some basic information on what some of those terms mean and addressing some of the misinformation that may be out there.
Host: So how have things gone so far? How have folks responded? Do you feel like they're learning from all of you? Just give us a sense like how are things going?
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: They've been going wonderfully. I've been able to speak at our practice manager meetings to get the word out there. With this flyer that we had sent out to kind of everybody, we had a lot of outreach. So, so far, we've reached about 500 employees at Summa. That's about 20 locations within the health system. We also have been outside of Summa. We've been to Akron U, high schools, libraries. We will go everywhere and anywhere, to provide this information. We do a questionnaire at the end of the Rainbow Tour. It's basically just a survey, asking, what they liked about it, if there was information that maybe we didn't touch on that people would like to hear, and we kind of tweak those presentations to fit the group we're in front of.
We've done a lot outside of Summa too. It's nice to get out there and touch base with people who ask all kinds of amazing questions. It gives us the opportunity to address some of those things. So as of right now, we are booked into November with the Rainbow Tours. I'd say we do about four a month, where we get out there and just put our faces out there and let people reach out to us. We have a lot of managers who touch base with us, who'll have us come out to their staff meetings or their care team meetings to be a part of those, to be able to get this education out there.
And we have some really cool handouts. We're forever growing here at Pride, so we have a lot of specialties that round through here, so just how to do referrals and things of that nature. It's been amazing. The growth has been astronomical this year.
Host: Yeah, I know you've been to like Akron University and high schools and libraries and I don't know how deeply we want to get into it, but just on the subject of pronouns, right? For all of us who are the most, well-meaning, best intentioned folks, give us a sense of when it comes to pronouns and we see people with pronouns in their emails or Zooms and things like that, maybe you can just sort of give us the 101 on pronouns, or at the very least, how we can figure out which pronouns to use.
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: Sure. You can go down a rabbit hole with pronouns, honestly. I mean, obviously we know the basic ones that we're used to, the he, him, his, the she, her, hers, and then we see a lot now that are they, them, their. There's so many of them. My biggest thing that I tell people is just to be respectful of somebody else's pronouns.
If you see, especially when you're on Zoom or within Summa, because we do have these badge backers now where you can display your pronouns, if you see them, to just be respectful of them. If you know somebody's pronouns are different than maybe you would assume, to use those once somebody's brave enough to even tell you what those are.
Yeah. Um, if somebody tells you that they're a pronoun that maybe you've never heard before, to look it up. Because once you Google that pronoun, you now know what it is. And if somebody tells you in the future that they are that specific pronoun, you'll know it and you won't need to go look it up.
My biggest takeaway, especially if you are an employee at Summa and you work with somebody who uses a different pronoun, to just be respectful of that. It's very brave for somebody to come forward with a pronoun usage that may be different than what that you would assume. And I think that that's the biggest thing is to not assume somebody's pronoun.
I know for myself, I very rarely use pronouns anymore. I use people's first names. It's easier, there's no miscommunication there, there's no chance of you misgendering somebody. So I would just, you know, call you Scott. Very rarely would I even use that pronoun. But if you do know some of these pronouns, please try to use those. If you are uncomfortable using pronouns, or uncomfortable asking somebody what their pronouns are, just use their first name.
Host: Yeah. Uh, that's such a great suggestion, because you know, none of us, or at least most of us anyway, we don't want to hurt people's feelings. We want to be respectful and as you say, being respectful of the bravery that is needed on the part of folks to identify a certain way, a way that may not sort of jive with what we thought, right, with what everybody thought when they see their name tag or on a Zoom or something like that.
So it's just about, you know, that sort of education piece of this and yeah, and just being respectful and trying not to hurt people's feelings. And as you say, when in doubt I'll just use your name. So I'll just, you know,
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: Absolutely, mistakes will happen.
Host: I'll just say, right. I'll just say, Hey Meagan, how are you? Right.
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: That is correct. And you know, and I also tell people that you're going to make mistakes. I mean, we've been doing this here at Pride for a long time, and a lot of us are a part of the community or have been doing this long before Pride was erected. So when we making a mistake is going to happen, I just tell people to, you know, acknowledge and move on.
Sorry, I'm, I am new at this, I'm learning this. I'm aware that this is your pronoun. And use those moving forward.
Host: It is a learning process and fortunately, the folks who work at Summa and in the respective communities, they have you and Pamela out there, you know, spreading the word, educating, all that good stuff. And I know if folks are interested in learning more about the Rainbow Tour, they could visit Summahealth.org/rainbow. Meagan, how long do the tours last?
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: We generally need about 45 minutes to an hour. That saves us with some time at the end to be able to do some questions and answers. We'll come out, we'll do our presentation. We bring all kinds of cool handouts and some things with us for the staff and, we would be happy to set up a time to come out.
Host: That's awesome. And you know, we hope that things like this, podcasts like this are conversation starters. Get folks interested, educate a little bit, have some fun along the way. So thanks so much. You stay well.
Meagan Mafield, NRCMA: Thank you.
Host: And for more information, visit summahealth.org/prideclinic. And if you found this podcast to be helpful and informative, please share it on your social channels and be sure to check out the full podcast library for additional topics of interest. This is Healthy Vitals, a podcast from Summa Health. I'm Scott Webb. Stay well, and we'll talk again next time.