255354 Queering the doctor's office: An assessment of LGBTQ women's experiences in healthcare settings

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anna Nannicelli, BS , Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Lisa Katona, LCSW , Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Betsy Rubinstein, MA, LSW , Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Kelly Cook-Ginn, MA , Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL
Christina Santiago , Deceased
Background/Purpose: Ample evidence supports the need for additional assessment of the health and access needs of the LGBTQ community, and specifically, those of sexual minority women. Particularly, research shows the importance of patients disclosing sexual orientation in healthcare settings to accurately gauge behavior risk. Thus, the Lesbian Community Care Project (LCCP), a program of Howard Brown Health Center, developed a community needs assessment to better understand the health experiences of the LGBTQ population in Chicago, Illinois.

Methods: Drawing upon past LGBTQ-specific needs assessments of other urban organizations and the expertise of the assessment team, LCCP developed a 32-item questionnaire broken into three sections: demographics, health and healthcare, and programming, which was disseminated city-wide specifically targeting LBTQ women.

Results: 152 respondents completed the survey; 92.1% were woman-identified and 92.76% identified as lesbian, bisexual or queer. Data revealed that 16.08% believe that health services in general are not LGBTQ-sensitive, and thus, 23% “never” and 35% “sometimes” discuss their sexual orientation with their primary care provider. 18.49% reported being treated inappropriately because of their sexual orientation, citing particularly negative experiences related to providers' heteronormative views on pregnancy, birth control, and sex; as well as misinformation regarding the need for LBTQ women to receive routine gynecological testing.

Conclusions/Implications: Despite overwhelming evidence and resources, many providers and staff of healthcare organizations still lack specific training and cultural competency when treating sexual minority women. This assessment suggests the need to establish standards of care to ensure appropriate and nondiscriminatory care of LGBTQ patients.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate community needs assessment data regarding the health and access needs of LGBTQ women in a large, urban setting. Identify key areas of improvement for providers and healthcare settings in treating LGBTQ patients.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Co-Principal Investigator of this IRB exempt community needs assessment project. I am currently an MPH student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.