The Fenway Institute Receives $2 Million Award To Improve Culturally Competent Health Care For LGBT Patients

The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health works to make life healthier for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), people living with HIV/AIDS, and the larger community

Provision of optimal health care for LGBT patients requires training all providers to routinely ask patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity, and making sure providers understand what is entailed in culturally competent care for sexual and gender minority persons.

The Fenway Institute has been approved for a $2,075,915 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to determine the best way to train community health center staff in the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data. The project will then evaluate the impact of that enhanced data collection on health outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients.

Sexual and gender minorities in the U.S. experience significant health disparities. For example, LGBT populations experience a greater burden of depression and other problems such as substance use disorders, including nicotine and alcohol abuse. Gay and bisexual men and transgender women are at increased risk of HIV infection and lesbians and bisexual women are impacted by breast and cervical cancer at higher rates than the general population. Transgender people often do not receive appropriate cancer screenings.

Many healthcare providers lack proper training to ask questions about sexual orientation, sexual behavior and gender identity and social stigma prevents many patients from volunteering this information. In addition, electronic health record (EHR) systems do not currently include standard ways to collect SOGI information. Without this knowledge, providers cannot properly identify and address health disparities affecting their LGBT patients.

“The federal government and organizations like the AMA and the American College of Physicians have recognized that the provision of optimal health care for LGBT patients requires training all providers and other health care personnel to routinely ask patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity, and to providing them with correct information so providers understand what is…

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