Case Synopsis

Samara Lewis is a public health nurse specialist at the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU). Samara has been tasked with creating a Safe and Positive Spaces workgroup that will aid in the implementation of an LGBTQ2S+ Safe and Positive Space at the health unit. Priority number one in the health unit’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan aligns directly with the creation of said spaces, as the health unit is committed to provisioning healthy sexuality messaging and to ensuring safe, welcoming, and accessible health services to all sexual and gender diversities. Safe and Positive Spaces act as facilitators in achieving health equity for the LGBTQ2S+ community. In September 2017, Samara will return to the Sexual Health department—her home department. Consequently, the future of the workgroup is unknown. Will a Positive Space champion step up and commit to leading the workgroup? Will the health unit achieve health equity for the LGBTQ2S+ community? Time is of the essence.

Case Objectives

  1. Consider the complexities involved in gender and sexual diversities, as well as familiarity with the appropriate LGBTQ2S+ terms.
  2. Identify contextual organizational factors that may facilitate or inhibit the implementation of a Safe and Positive Space.
  3. Analyze policies to assess inclusivity and cultural competency.
  4. Discuss and understand the importance of implementing a Safe and Positive Space in a public health organization.
  5. Develop a context-specific implementation plan for Safe and Positive Spaces.
  6. Discuss roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities that public health professionals have in ensuring health equity and inclusivity for the LGBTQ2S+ community.

Case Study Questions

  1. What are effective strategies in ensuring the implementation of a Safe and Positive Space?
  2. How can public health professionals advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ2S+ population in terms of safe and equitable health services?
  3. How do Safe Spaces facilitate health equity within the LGBTQ2S+ community?
  4. What are potential challenges that may arise in implementing a Safe and Positive Space?
  5. How can an organization ensure that it is providing safe and welcoming services to its clients?
  6. What steps are the most effective in creating a Safe and Positive Space (i.e. inclusive policies, all-gender washrooms, positive space stickers, etc.)?


LGBTQ2S+ health, Safe and Positive Space, implementation research, health equity, cultural competency, cultural safety, inclusivity

Additional Author Information

Natalie Dupuis, HBSc, MPH

Louise Gagné, BASc, MSc, Manager, Planning, Evaluation & Communication Services

Samara Lewis, BASc, MPH, Public Health Nurse Specialist

Shannon L, Sibbald, PhD, Assistant Professor



Recommended Citation

Dupuis, N., Gagné, L., Lewis, S., Sibbald, S.L. (2018). Big Comfy Couch: The Implementation of an LGBTQ2S+ Safe and Positive Space Within a Public Health Unit. in: McKinley, G. & Sibbald, S.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2018. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.