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Pride 2023: Celebrating Community, Driving Change

Pride means something different to everyone, and for the Northwestern Medicine Champion Network LGBTQ Chapter, pride today means acknowledging growth while continuing to drive change.

“I remember not ever being out in the workplace,” says Tiffani Darling, director of Operations, Office of Well-Being and a member of the LGBTQ Chapter. “Now, I am out at work, and my company is putting its resources and efforts into highlighting and sharing the stories of my community while promoting a culture of inclusivity.”

The LGBTQ Chapter was one of the first chapters to launch when Northwestern Medicine established the Champion Network in 2020. It is the largest of the five chapters and, like the others, regularly offers networking and community engagement opportunities for its members and allies to help foster a sense of community and belonging. A culture of both inclusion and celebration is key to empowering people to bring their authentic selves to work.

But while there has been social progress for LGBTQ people in recent decades, Darling says there is a lot of work still to be done, especially when it comes to LGBTQ people of color as well as gender minorities.

“Our transgender colleagues and patients are the most at risk from a societal and legislative standpoint right now,” she explains. “They should not have to feel scared when it comes to who they are.”

Northwestern Medicine has made investments to continue pushing for progress, Palmateer says, from forming the LGBTQ Chapter to providing inclusive care.

Palmateer adds that, moving forward, the chapter looks to continue fostering connection and impacting change at the highest levels possible. 

“It comes down to walking the walk,” he explains. “We need to invest in human beings, have representation throughout our leadership, do the work in our communities, and educate ourselves and others. It’s the right thing to do.”