Spectrum Health West Michigan

New BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan LGBTQIA+ patient navigator focuses on equitable care

August 17, 2022

Grand Rapids, Mich., Aug. 17, 2022—BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan has added a new patient navigator service dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community to help individuals access the care they need and help guide them through their health care journeys.

Zoey O’Brien is the newest patient navigator to join the Spectrum Health team and is working to ensure the patient experience within the LGBTQIA+ population is a positive one for all. Prior to joining the organization, O’Brien was a senior customer care representative for Priority Health’s provider services. She brings a unique perspective that is informed by her experiences as a patient.

“To help others find safe and affirming care is a passion, as I know what it’s like to not receive it,” O’Brien said. “Every transgender and non-conforming patient is worthy and deserving of quality, compassionate care. The more work that we do to eliminate these barriers will help us stay true to our values. Treating patients with dignity and respect will instill humanity. Showing them that providers will understand the complexities of their care and ensure that the patient is seen for who they really are will inspire hope. And by doing these things, and connecting these patients with safe and affirming care, we improve health.”

The new dedicated service is part of a broader effort to make Spectrum Health a leader in providing culturally competent care that’s inclusive to everyone. Earlier this year, the health system offered a new role-based training that enabled physicians and team members in their practices to earn a “safe and affirming” designation.

A new website also launched in April to offer easy access to Spectrum Health’s LGBTQIA+ services. The site provides access to community resources for navigating issues like depression and anxiety, as well as safety and well-being. Patients also can search for more than 100 safe and affirming providers on the Find a Doctor online tool by entering LGBT in the top search box.

“We want everyone to feel safe when accessing their health care,” said Malissa Becksvoort, director of primary care operations with Spectrum Health. “We know that whenever someone experiences discrimination in the health care setting, it often leads to distrust in providers and avoidance in seeking care. Zoey is helping us change that, and we look forward to her bringing her own personal experiences to the table when helping patients find the right providers, services and resources.”

To access the LGBTQIA+ patient navigator service, visit spectrumhealth.org/lgbtqia.


About BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan

People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.

Sarina Gleason
Media Relations
Phone: 517.256.5618
Email: sarina.gleason@spectrumhealth.org