The Department of Medicine and The Washington University School of Medicine strive to create an inclusive environment for all people.  While there is work to be done, groundwork has been laid to advance LGBTQIA+ patients, trainees, and employees.   

OUTmed’s goal is to be present in the St Louis community so we can develop connections for future programming and collaboration.

Are you considering Washington University School of Medicine for residency, fellowship, or employment and interested in finding out more about our LGBTQ+ community? Contact Jennifer Mosher at

Queer Life in St Louis

When moving to St Louis, MO, many people of the SGM community wonder if the city itself will be welcoming or LGBTQIA+ friendly. St Louis certainly is not like the coastal cities of Seattle, San Francisco, or New York City, but it boasts a Midwest charm that has many iconic queer scenes, diverse LGBTQIA+ population to find your own niche, and a little bit of everything for everyone. Here are some links about St Louis in general, and links more specific to the SGM community.

  1. About St. Louis
  2. Explore St. Louis – LGBTQ
  3. Explore St. Louis – LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods
  4. OUT in STL
See What Our Faculty, Residents, and Students Think!


De Fer

Thomas De Fer, MD (he/him)
Professor of Medicine
Associate Dean of Medical Student Education
General Medicine Division Chief
Office of Education | Department of Medicine

As a St. Louis native and a member of the Washington University School of Medicine family for over 30 years, I think it’s pretty obvious I like it here.  A lot.  St. Louis may not be the most overtly progressive place in America, but I’ve never found that to be detrimental at all.  Midwestern niceness is, in very large measure, quite genuine.  After “escaping” all the way to Columbia, Missouri for college and medical school, I returned to St. Louis to do residency here at BJH and WUSM.  I was incredibly happy (and frankly relieved) to find that our residency program was extremely welcoming and that I clearly wasn’t the only one.  I have never once felt singled out, held back, not included, silenced, discriminated against, or merely tolerated as a gay man by anyone here.  What has always seemed to matter the most is the quality of your character and your ability to be a good doctor.  That just feels right to me.  Many of my colleagues have known my husband almost as long as they have known me.  Some may even like him better than me. That alone says a lot.


Mark Levine, MD, FACEP (he/him)
Professor of Emergency Medicine
MS3 and MS4 Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director
Department of Emergency Medicine

Being out at WashU has never been a big deal or issue.  In fact, I received more attention when I adopted a new dog.  The focus has always been on being a good clinician and educator.  As an educator, I enjoy the opportunity to mentor students, residents, and faculty in their personal and professional development.



Lauren East, MD (she/her)
Internal Medicine

The LGBTQIA+ community at Washington University School of Medicine and in St. Louis has been incredibly welcoming to both me and my brother, a nurse at Barnes Jewish Hospital. The OUTmed community at WashU/BJH has provided mentorship, opportunities for professional collaboration, and a supportive group to join for fun social events. Dr. Dao, Director of the OUTmed Program, has been a welcoming mentor to me in the Internal Medicine Department. He’s always available to lend a listening ear or offer advice during the difficult transitions that occur so often during residency.


Daniel Hwang, MD (he/him)
Internal Medicine

My experience thus far at WUSTL has been incredible. My co-residents, fellows, and attendings come from diverse and varied backgrounds. Importantly, I feel not only welcome on a day-to-day basis but also highly supported officially by the program. Simply put, there is an organic inclusive culture at the institution that is also fostered.


Nathan Neilson, MD (he/him)
Internal Medicine

Coming from a more rural community for medical school to Washington University for residency, I feel completely refreshed and invigorated by the LGBTQ+ community here.  Within weeks of moving to St. Louis, I connected with other queer folks in medicine through OUTmed.  I immediately felt like I belonged; I was invited to dinner hosted by a group of queer physicians, was able to experience LGBTQ+ coffee shops, art studios, nightlife, and even found out I have affirming neighbors!  The more the merrier though – WashU is always looking for more folks to grow our LGBTQ+ community!

If you are an Internal Medicine Resident Applicant, please contact David Leander, MD, MBA – and Amy Foyil – (IM Residency Recruitment Coordinator) for further information about our program.

Medical Students


Caellagh Catley (she/her/hers)
President of LGBTQmed – 2020-2021

When my partner and I first considered moving to St. Louis, we received a lot of questions from family and friends about how comfortable we would be as a lesbian couple in Missouri. While well-meaning, I’ve truly found these concerns to be unfounded – at least within St. Louis itself and certainly at Washington University. The Advocate, America’s oldest running LGBT publication recently included St. Louis on its list of Queerest Cities in the United States, and the Human Rights Campaigns Municipal Equality Index, awarded the city of St. Louis a perfect score for the 9th consecutive year.

St. Louis has a very vibrant queer community with a fair number of gay bars in the Grove (walking distance from campus), a large Pride festival, and plenty of events to take advantage of! WashU itself is home to a number of active queer groups on campus advocating for greater inclusion and representation for Gender and Sexual Minority people at the hospital and beyond. Through work with OUTmed and LGBTQ+med I have found friends and mentors and am learning to be a healthcare advocate for all gender and sexual minorities. We’ve found a home in St. Louis, and hope you will too!”


Gideon Haber (he/him)

“I was hesitant to choose Wash U – or more accurately, St. Louis – when I was picking a med school. Having spent my gap year in DC where I felt surrounded by queer culture, I was nervous about what the Midwest would have to offer. After 3 years, I can say St Louis is not DC. But, if you look closely, it has plenty to offer. I’ve found queer improv shows, ballroom dancing groups, running clubs and park festivals in my time here.

Importantly, I’ve also found a community. Through its curriculum and student organizations, WashU creates a safe environment to explore medicine, find queer mentors, and – with the new curriculum – interface with the greater St Louis community. I may not be sure St. Louis is my forever home, but I am confident I made a good decision coming here.”


Lane Parmely (he/him)

“One of the many reasons I chose WashU for medical school was the visibility of LGBTQ+ students and faculty during my interview process. To my delight, that visibility has continued during my time as a student here. Moreover, most of my faculty mentors here are LGBTQ+ as well! How awesome is that?

I also can’t rave enough about how much I’m enjoying my time here in St. Louis as a gay man. My partner and I moved to St. Louis in 2019 without knowing a single person here, and in the interim, we have developed an incredibly close-knit friend group of fabulous queer people from all over the city. These wonderful people are my chosen family, and for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m somewhere I belong.”


LGBTQ Med is the Washington University School of Medicine student-run interest group dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) identity and health.

Washington University and Policies and Benefits

The consortium consists of Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), Barnes Jewish Hospital (BJH), and St Louis Childrens Hospital (SLCH).  Each entity has its own diversity statement that includes protections for patients and employers regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Below are some of the benefits related to people who identify as LGBTQIA+, but be sure to double check who your employer is.

Washington University School of Medicine

  1. WUSM Diversity Statement
  2. WUSM benefits (WUSM Faculty)
    1. Dependent coverage (Page 19 Same sex or opposite sex spouse or domestic partner coverage)
    2. Fertility Treatment (Page 9, Lifetime $30,000 medical services, $15,000 prescription drugs)
    3. Adoption benefits

Barnes Jewish Hospital

  1. BJH Diversity Statement
  2. BJC Benefits Total Rewards
    1. Dependent coverage (spouse)
    2. Fertility treatment (Page 30)
    3. Gender affirming hormone therapy is covered (Page 31)
    4. Gender affirming surgery is covered subject to prior authorization (Page 31)

St Louis Children’s Hospital

  1. SLCH Diversity Statement 
  2. BJC Benefits are the same as Barnes Jewish Hospital

Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis Children’s Hospital, and Barnes-Jewish Hospital are committed to providing multidisciplinary, patient-centered care to LGBTQIA+ patients.  Our policies support patients’ rights to equal care and visitation rights without fear of discrimination.  The Health Equity Index (HEI) is a national LGBTQIA+ benchmarking tool created by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  We are proud of our strong performance at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.