With an ongoing and critical need for trained and welcoming health care providers to serve the transgender community, the LGBT Health Resource Center’s health equity training team will present an accredited one-day continuing education symposium on March 9th entitled “Trans Care Across the Lifespan.”

Scheduled sessions will address issues of stigma, the local landscape of the transgender population in Baltimore and Maryland, and best practices for medical and behavioral health care for gender diverse children, adolescents, adults, and elders. Attendees will also hear from a panel of transgender community members about their experiences. Clinicians will learn the essentials of providing compassionate and comprehensive services to transgender and gender diverse patients from their peers.

Our goal is to continue to expand the number of trained, welcoming and affirming health care providers available to the community and to further LGBT health equity. The LGBT Health Resource Center has made training health and human service clinicians and other workers a key area of our mission because there is a plethora of published research demonstrating that the professional training regarding LGB health care is inadequate. Provider education around transgender health care is worse than inadequate – in almost every case it is simply missing all together.

Significant progress was made in prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people under the landmark Affordable Care Act. But the current political landscape is littered with efforts to dismantle current protections, and even sanction lawful discrimination, by shielding organizations and medical care providers who claim their religious beliefs should allow them to discriminate against and even outright refuse to provide medical care to LGBT people.

In addition to these barriers, insurers also fail to keep up with current standards of care, creating barriers for patients. Even medications prescribed by their physician and deemed to be medically necessary are often delayed, and/or the insurance company simply denies coverage.

A recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health determined that more than half of LGBT and queer Americans report they have experienced violence, threats or harassment because of their sexuality or gender identity. In addition, one in five LGBTQ adults has avoided seeking medical care for fear of discrimination. Not only does this keep some people away from needed health care, studies show it can create lifelong stress, leading to chronic health problems like heart disease and depression. According to multiple research sources, between 40% and 50% of transgender people have attempted suicide. This is a health equity crisis.

In order to continue our work to forge LGBTQ health equity, our skilled medical providers and trainers provide peer education and training to all who are willing to learn. The good news is, all indications are there are many health care providers who are willing and eager to learn. We hope to see many of them at our symposium on March 9th.

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