Pride Month profile: Q&A with Kevo Rivera

Each June, the world celebrates Pride Month and members of the LGBTQ community. This year, UI Health Care is celebrating some of our employees, like resident physician Kevo Rivera, MD. This is the first in our Q&A series on UI Health Care employees.

What’s your title and what do you do on campus?

“I am a resident physician with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.”

What has your experience as an LGBTQ employee been like?

“As both an employee and a physician-in-training, I’ve been delighted to work in a hospital that, at its core, emphasizes the importance of inclusion for both its employees and patients. We lead the state and the nation in providing equitable primary and mental health care to our LGBTQ patients, but we also recognize that we can always do better. To this end, I have been encouraged and inspired by countless colleagues and mentors to develop into a clinician-leader who can integrate my LGBTQ identity into our institution-wide mission to change medicine and change lives.”

What has made you feel welcome and accepted here?

“I sometimes joke that I like to lead with my queer foot forward and to expect that others will just have to accept me (and truthfully, in many situations, that works well). But I’ve lived through enough uncomfortable experiences to know that a welcoming environment does make a difference. Ultimately, it’s a combination of big and small things that helps me know that I belong here: it’s rainbow stickers on name badges; it’s the appointment of queer faculty to leadership positions; it’s asking about someone’s pronouns, etc. I’m grateful to everyone who’s started to incorporate these practices into their work. Oh, and if you ever see me in the halls and want to stop me to compliment me on my nail polish, that always helps, too!”

University of Iowa Health Care is developing an OutList and invites anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to participate. The OutList is completely voluntary. There will be multiple options for those who decide to participate to make decisions on how much information they want public versus private.