We are proud to announce the launch of the Equitas Health Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity and the Transforming Care: Midwest Conference on LGBTQ Health Equity and HIV/AIDS.
The Institute will serve as the education, research and community engagement arm of Equitas Health, focused on reducing health disparities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. We will develop and deliver exceptional LGBTQ culturally competent healthcare education and training, engage with LGBTQ patients, work with community-based organizations, and support LGBTQ health research efforts in our region.
With this expansion and in partnership with the Ohio AIDS Coalition (also a division of Equitas Health), we are launching the Transforming Care Conference. The conference will be hosted in partnership with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on October 20-21, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. A pre-conference for People Living with HIV in Ohio will take place on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.
This conference evolved as a result of the work of two Ohio-based coalitions. The Ohio AIDS Coalition introduced the Ohio Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS in 1997 and the Central Ohio LGBTQ Health Coalition introduced its LGBTQ Health Equity Conference in 2015. For the first time, these two events will join forces to bring together over 450 health and social service providers, community members, advocates, researchers, students, activists, and community leaders to address the vast health disparities that affect the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV/AIDS.
According to a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation report, many LGBT individuals report negative experiences when seeking care, ranging from disrespectful treatment or providers’ lack of awareness of LGBT health needs to outright denial of care, shaming, or blaming the patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the cause for an illness. The same study identified significant medical disparities in the LGBT community. Relative to heterosexuals, LGBT individuals experience a higher prevalence and earlier onset of chronic conditions and disabilities, including mental health disorders, substance abuse, homelessness, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and suicide. Transgender persons are more likely to live in poverty, less likely to have health insurance, experience the greatest challenges, including stigma, and are often least likely among LGBT individuals to report their health as excellent or very good. And, members of the LGBT community are still impacted most by HIV.
The Transforming Care Conference will provide the necessary tools and resources to ensure healthcare professionals are able to provide culturally competent care and to help us link community members with available provider resources and services.
With the announcement of the conference, we have opened a call for abstracts for both the pre-conference and the full conference. More information is available by visiting http://transformingcareconference.com/abstracts/.