Insights on LGBTQ+ Equity and Inclusion

Professional Headshot of Dr. Renee McLaughlin, National Medical Executive at Cigna

Dr. Renee McLaughlin, the National Medical Executive, Value-Based Relationships at Cigna, talks about the current current environment for LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion and best practices for creating an inclusive work culture. She offers recommendations for being a stronger ally for LGBTQ+ people with a powerful model of the 3 L’s: Let go, Learn, Lean In! Congratulations to Cigna for receiving its 11th consecutive perfect score for LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion based on the Corporate Equality Index.

Understanding LGBTQ+ Challenges in the Workplace

Dr. Renee McLaughlin shares her perspective on the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace. She emphasizes that despite progress, LGBTQ+ people, especially those who are transgender or non-binary, still face significant hurdles.

  • Visibility and Representation: Transgender individuals often struggle with visibility in their workplaces, as they are typically the only trans person in the room, lacking role models and colleagues who share their experiences.
  • Legislative Challenges: Dr. McLaughlin highlights the increasing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, particularly anti-trans legislation, which adds to the daily stress and challenges faced by the community.
  • Workplace Acceptance: The need for organizations to move beyond surface-level support and genuinely integrate LGBTQ+ inclusion into their cultures is crucial for creating a truly inclusive environment.

Best Practices for Inclusivity

Dr. McLaughlin offers actionable insights on how companies can foster inclusivity and support their LGBTQ+ employees:

  • Employee Resource Groups: Supporting groups that provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ employees can help them feel valued and understood.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Companies must regularly evaluate their policies and practices to ensure they meet the evolving needs of LGBTQ+ employees and the broader community.

The Importance of Allyship

Dr. McLaughlin stresses the critical role of allies in advancing LGBTQ+ equity. She outlines the “Three L’s” of effective allyship:

  1. Let Go: Release preconceived notions and biases.

  2. Learn: Educate yourself about the challenges and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals.

  3. Lean In: Actively support and stand up for LGBTQ+ rights, both in personal and professional settings.


A Vision for the Future

Dr. McLaughlin envisions a future where an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity is just one aspect of their identity, seamlessly integrated into the broader fabric of society. She is optimistic, noting that younger generations show higher levels of acceptance and support for LGBTQ+ rights.


This insightful conversation with Dr. Renee McLaughlin sheds light on the progress made and the work still needed to achieve true LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion. By understanding the challenges and actively working towards inclusive practices, companies can create environments where all employees thrive.

For more on leadership, life, and the transformative power of mentoring, stay tuned to the Menttium Matters podcast.


About Dr. McLaughlin

Dr. Renee Mclaughlin is the National Medical Executive, Value-Based Relationships at Cigna. She leads a team of clinicians who develop, implement, and manage Cigna’s fee-for-value strategy in both primary care (ACO models) and specialty care. She is an expert in population health management, including program design and performance delivery.

Dr. McLaughlin is passionate about building diverse and inclusive workplaces and serving diverse customer segments. She serves in a leadership role in Cigna’s LGBTQ+ diversity organization and supports Cigna’s clients on transgender issues.

Prior to joining CIGNA in 2005, Dr McLaughlin was a practicing general and vascular surgeon in a single-specialty practice. She earned a BS at Adrian College, an MS at Wayne State University, and completed her graduate and post-graduate medical and surgical training at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating with honors. She served as a Major in the United States Army during the first Gulf war. She currently lives in Michigan.