Global Medical Staffing celebrates Pride Month with two locum doctors

picture of two people holding hands in front of a Pride flag

June is Pride Month, and we’ve asked two of our locum physicians to share their personal stories and what Pride means to them. They talk about the transformation to their authentic selves, their overall journey, and how locum tenens has helped them be more authentic in their professions.

Dr. Anita Haugabrook

Dr. Anita Haugabrook, a hospitalist and internal medicine physician, has practiced since 2007 and now works locums assignments around the country and part-time at a local hospital. She and her wife, Wendy, currently call Atlanta, Georgia, home.

Quote from Dr Haugabrook on what Pride means to her

“To me, Pride means the ability to be my authentic self, to not have to subdue anything about me to make others comfortable,” she shares. “And one of the things that we take pride in is we’re living in the South because my parents are from Georgia. One of the things that we watched evolve was the Black church. I have always been a member of this church, and we are our authentic selves. We didn’t ask permission; we just operated as we were, and we watched people’s perceptions change of what the gay and lesbian lifestyle was like.”

In private practice, she mostly kept her personal life to herself.  

“When I got into hospital medicine, I was like, I’m your doctor today. They could accept it or leave, I thought to myself. And if I heard somebody saying something negative, I felt I now had the authority to say something because they can’t affect my bottom line.”

Moving to the hospital setting “was a beautiful shift,” she says. “I didn’t realize that that was going to occur.”

A more accepting climate

Picture of Dr Haugabrook and wife, Wendy
Dr. Haugabrook and her wife, Wendy

Dr. Haugabrook says times continue to change. “When I first started doing locums, I often got to the setting and met people, and they’re like, ‘Oh, do you have a husband?’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, I have a wife.’ And they’re kind of like, ‘OK.’ And now you see people asking, ‘Do you have a spouse?’ instead of assuming.”

She adds, “One of the things my wife told me early in our relationship was that when you respond with your true self, if you wait for people to come to you, then you’re giving them power. So when that question comes up about your spouse or whatever, say it matter-of-factly, and you’ll watch people’s responses change.”

Dr. Haugabrook says whether you’re gay, straight, black, or white, to just be you. “You’ll see that you attract people just because of your positive energy,” she shares. “Sometimes, people walk around, and because they’re trying to cover up something or hide something, they are not their authentic selves, and they’re not as approachable and not as kind, but if you can just be yourself, people will see you and like you for who you are.”

Locums with a spouse: Dr. Gallehr and husband, Bryon, take their children on a New Zealand adventure

Dr. Elizabeth Dayton

Physician Dr. Elizabeth Dayton worked as a family medicine physician in private practice before leaving after 20 years to spend more time with her wife, Rachel, and two adult children.

Quote by Dr Dayton about what Pride means to her

She says Pride means “feeling proud instead of apologetic for who I am and who I love and being able to live authentically without fear or shame.”

The ‘70s and ‘80s were different from now; it was much more taboo to be gay, she says.

“The acknowledgment of my sexuality took many years, and it was only after 30 years of heterosexual marriage that I was finally able to come to terms with it fully. Going to a Pride parade or seeing a rainbow flag makes me recognize that I am not alone and can celebrate who I am.”

She says that being LGBTQIA+ has made her a better provider. “It has made me recognize privilege and therefore be less judgmental. I want to help others feel included and lack shame and pride in their health journey, just as I want to in my own.”

Feeling accepted in the workplace

Picture of Dr Dayton's partner Rachel hiking
Dr. Dayton’s wife, Rachel

Does she share her personal life details with coworkers?

“I only share with my employer or coworkers that I am LGBTQIA+ if I feel completely safe in doing so. With that being said, I have returned to my current assignment in New Zealand three times, first while still married to a man and this most recent time with my wife. I have been welcomed and accepted here, and my wife, Rachel, has felt the same.”

Working in a smaller community in New Zealand gave Dr. Dayton and her wife the chance to live on the beach, swim, and walk every day. “I just enjoyed the beauty, which is hard to even convey in words.”

Going full-time locums was a step she’s so glad she took. “It was a little intimidating for me to quit my long-term job to do locums, but I feel it’s been one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” she shares.