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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Spectrum Health to convert single-occupant restrooms to affirming, gender-neutral spaces

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Spectrum Health
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Spectrum Health has announced plans to convert its single-occupant restrooms into affirming, gender neutral spaces. The idea stemmed from conversations with the health care giant's inclusion resource groups and aims to promote health care equity for all.

“The biggest key is for us to listen and understand what the barriers are to safe care and try to help make that easier for everyone,” Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, President of Spectrum Health West Michigan said.

Over the next several months, all-gender restroom signage will be installed in Spectrum Health facilities in downtown Grand Rapids. The project begins with more than 300 single-stall restrooms at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. Other locations include 25 Michigan, 35 Michigan, 145 Michigan and 221 Michigan. 

In a study done by the Journal of Adolescent Health, 85% of gender minority youth surveyed who’ve experienced bathroom discrimination, reported depressive moods, and 60% seriously considered suicide.

Elmouchi is the executive sponsor of Spectrum Health's 'Happy Pride' inclusion resource group. He said he understands there's more work to be done to achieve health equity for LGBTQ+ individuals, but notes the newest change is a step in the right direction.

"I’m really glad we’re doing this, but I think it’s one small step," Elmouchi said, "...Over the long haul our goal is to help deconstruct societal barriers, barriers to health care access and equity."

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