Development of a Volunteer-Led Safe Zone Program at an Academic Health Center and Land-Grant University in the South
Methods: Through an interprofessional partnership between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and members of the LGBT community, we jointly designed, piloted, and evaluated our SZP. An MPH student prepared materials, organized logistics, co-presented, and evaluated the pilot. The training emphasizes participant interaction, storytelling, and LGBT panels, with content focused on terminology, the spectrum, privilege, and how to be an ally.
Results: Pilot participants placed high value on personal stories from LGBT community members and wanted more detail on how to be an ally. Participant feedback was used to modify training format. LGBT participants have subsequently been engaged to serve as trainers or panelists in training sessions. Challenges included defining eligibility for Safe Zone membership because of questions from participants struggling to reconcile their religious beliefs with training content; increasing training participation at UAMS; and, assuring sustainability of this volunteer-led program.
Conclusions: Trainers in this program are highly committed to changing the culture of their institutions. LGBT AHC and university students and employees need a safe environment in which to study and work, and AHC purpose-designed SZPs can address this need.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Describe potential impact of homophobic/transphobic environments on LGBT individuals studying or employed at Academic Health Centers. Describe key components of Safe Zone training to address homophobia and transphobia on university campuses and at Academic Health Centers. Describe challenges in implementing a Safe Zone Program within an Academic Health Center in the South.
Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Cultural Competency
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversaw this project and mentored the student who helped with implementation.
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.