Identifying and Cultivating “Champions”

Change champions share the vision behind the innovation and can be indispensable in moving it through the planning, preparation, and implementation phases. Not only are they cheerleaders, enthusiastically promoting and building support for an innovation, but they strive to overcome organizational inertia or resistance to change by encouraging implementation.2 These individuals will frequently identify themselves for this role through their noted interest in SGM health and health care or previous involvement in patient care improvement initiatives. They can be allies and do not need to self-identify as SGM or be top-notch experts caring for SGM people. Leaders at the clinic can also reach out to providers and staff they think would make good champions and encourage them to get involved. However, no one should be forced into assuming the role of a champion—they should take on this role willingly. We also recommend that when champions are involved in an implementation project or another activity that pulls their focus from day-to-day work responsibilities, that protected time is allotted to ensure adequate hours for their participation. They should also be acknowledged by others in the clinic for their efforts and have access to training or other educational opportunities that will allow them to talk up and role-model the innovations to their coworkers.