The U of U panel discusses the need for greater inclusion in health spaces for the LGBTQIA + community –

The Huntsman Institute for Mental Health (HMHI) at the University of Utah (U of U Health) held a panel Wednesday discussing ways in which HMHI and U of U Health promote health equity and the competence of LGBTQIA + providers to promote community care.

The panel included Anna Docherty, PhD, clinical psychologist and statistical geneticist at HMHI, Joanne Cook, clinical social worker at HMHI’s Teenscope program, Ariel Lee Malan, coordinator of the transsexual health program at U of U Health, moderated by Jessica Holzbauer, manager of HMHI’s Kidstar and Teenscope Programs.

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Holzbauer began the panel discussion with data on the differences in quality health outcomes between the LGBTQIA + community and those outside the community. She said LGBTQIA + adults were twice as likely as heterosexual adults to gain mental health. Transsexual individuals are nearly 4 times more likely to experience mental health than cisgender people.

There are many different types of experiences that can lead to these negative impacts. Daughters and Cook said the negative effects begin when members of the LGBTQIA + community are alienated from their families, friends, teachers, peers and other support networks. Supporting communities foster a sense of belonging by encouraging community members to see providers without fear of alienation from proper care.

Malan said many members of the LGBTQIA + community also tend to be underinsured and on Medicaid, which does not guarantee that their specific needs are met. She also said that language about gender identity changes or other gender-based concerns should shift from negative connotations. She gives examples of negative connotative words such as “gender dysphoria” and “gender identity disorder”.

“It’s the only thing that affects the way people navigate the health care system,” Malan said. “Whether or not they can request mental health support letters for surgery if it is part of their sexual journey, or simply get that competent provider. This language … will create barriers if we do not recognize it and think of new terminology. “

The panelists stressed the importance of doctors and / or providers continuing their LGBTQIA + training, reaffirming care throughout their careers. They expressed the need for competent providers who can understand and properly treat the patient, which is not common in Utah at the moment.

Therefore, members of the LGBTQIA + community often have the challenge of navigating the system to find a provider that meets their needs. To combat this, Malan said U of U has a search tool to find doctors and specialists in which providers can add transgender LGBTQIA + care to their profiles. U of U sponsors educational campaigns to give the word to these providers to show their specialty in their profiles.

Other measures, including LGBTQIA +, include the Health Quality Index, which is a specific set of criteria that hospitals and clinics must meet to ensure inclusion of care. Malan said all U’s inpatient facilities from U Health meet that designation now and allow the health care system to be responsible for the care they provide.

The panel also highlighted the U of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee (SOGI) of U Health, which aims to measure health disparities in LGBTQIA + local communities through data collection.

“We have an ethical imperative to be active allies as family members, suppliers and community members,” Docherty said. “We have no excuse to back off and let our patients and children tell us how to take care of them. We need to take the initiative to learn these things about ourselves, to become competent and to stand up for the people in our communities. ”

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