Friday, October 9, 2015

HEALE Curriculum

Howard Brown Health Center has developed ground-breaking curriculum for nurses, teaching cultural competency in the care of LGBT older adults.  The HEAL Curriculum is funded through a HRSA grant.  Under this grant we are able to bring this curriculum to a variety of healthcare and educational settings in Illinois and present it to nursing staff and students, as well as any other disciplines who would like to attend.

The curriculum is a series of six one-hour sessions and is offered at no cost to either the hosting facility or the participant. Nurses earn 1.0 Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hour for each session they attend.


The topics of the six “Nurses HEAL Elders” modules are:

  • An Introduction to LGBT Elders
  • Barriers to Care and Health Disparities
  • Sex and Sexuality
  • Legal Concerns for Older LGBT Adults
  • Transgender Elders
  • HIV and Aging

This opportunity is particularly timely given the recent attention that LGBT health disparities are receiving from the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A June 29, 2011 fact sheet states “Negative health outcomes for LGBT people may be due to a variety of factors, including… a lack of cultural competence in the healthcare system.” The Nurses HEAL Elders curriculum brings us a step closer towards closing gaps in healthcare for older LGBT adults.

As we enter the final pilot phase of our program we are hoping to gain valuable feedback from a wide variety of nursing professionals (RNs, LPNs, APNs, CNAs). We will soon complete our program by developing an online version of the materials, thus creating a curriculum available to nursing professionals across the nation.

Based on feedback to date, over 90% of participants agree that they gained new insights through participation. Evaluations show, on average, a knowledge gain of 15%.

Some highlights of our presentations to date include the following:

  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center - presented to the staff and the RN residents and have been invited back to work with their incoming cohort of new RNs.
  • Rush University College of Nursing - presented as an elective (no class credit) course for nursing students. 38-56 students attended each session and we have been invited back to present to the incoming class of nursing students.
  • The Glen Healthcare Network - this network elected to make our presentation mandatory for all staff at their seven nursing/rehab facilities.
  • Hines VA/Lovell VA - we will be presenting to the staff of the hospital and six outpatient facilities beginning in January 2012.
  • St. Louis University Geriatric Summer Institute - plenary session describing the curriculum and its development and workshop presenting a condensed version of the curriculum.
  • St. Louis VA - we were invited to present to the hospital staff as a result of a VA employee attending our workshop at the St. Louis University Geriatric Summer Institute.

If you are interested in finding out more about Nurses HEAL Elders or would like to arrange for us to come to your facility to train your staff, please contact:
Cecilia Hardacker, RN
Geriatric Curriculum Trainer
Howard Brown Health Center
(773) 572-5123