LGBTQ Health: Service Provider Resources

A smiling doctor.

Why should service providers be educated about LGBT health issues?
Wisconsin's LGBT youth and adults are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes related to alcohol, drug, and tobacco use; safety and violence; mental health; and HIV/AIDS when compared to their non-LGBT peers. While the causes of these health disparities are complex, they are centered on four main issues. First, some members of the LGBT community are reluctant to divulge their sexual orientation or gender identity to health care providers. Second, not enough health care providers have been trained to provide culturally competent care to LGBT individuals. Third, structural barriers limit the access LGBT people have to health care. Last, there are not enough culturally appropriate and targeted prevention services for the LGBT community.

How can clinical practice influence LGBT health disparities?
Factors in the clinical setting that can contribute to LGBT health disparities include negative societal attitudes toward sexual minorities, lack of appropriate physician education about LGBT issues, and communication shortfalls between medical professionals and patients. Because most medical training programs in America do not include LGBT cultural competence as part of the required core curriculum, many health care professionals are not aware of how to create a supportive environment for LGBT patients and counsel them about issues relevant to their lives and behaviors. However, by learning how to address the health concerns of LGBT people, health care providers can take important steps toward reducing health disparities in the LGBT community.

The following resources are intended to increase awareness among health care providers of health issues and disparities affecting LGBT people.  

Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community: A Field Guide
Description:
The Joint Commission developed this resource to encourage US hospitals to create a more welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment that contributes to improved health care quality for LGBT patients and their families.
Resource availability: Internet

Center of Excellence for Transgender Health
Description: Based at the University of California, San Francisco, this academic center focuses on increasing access to comprehensive, effective, and affirming health care services for trans and gender-variant communities.
Resource availability: Internet

Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Description:
News, educational programs, advocacy, and health resources for LGBT people and clinicians.
Resource availability: Internet

Guidelines for Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients (PDF)
Description: Guidelines for clinicians published by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
Resource availability: Internet

The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding
Description:
Institute of Medicine report evaluating current knowledge of the health status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations; identifying research gaps and opportunities; and outlining a research agenda to help the National Institutes of Health focus its research in LGBT health.
Resource availability: Internet

Practitioner's Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children (PDF)
Description: Clinician's guide designed to help health, mental health and social service practitioners implement best practices in family-focused prevention and care for LGBT youth.
Resource availability: Internet

Prairielands Addiction Technology Transfer Center
Description:
Educational opportunities for those interested in substance abuse treatment and counseling, with a special focus on LGBT populations.
Resource availability: Internet

Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People
Description: Seventh version of the Standards of Care published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Resource availability: Internet

StopBullying.gov
Description: Information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
Resource availability: Internet

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Description: Free 24/7 service that provides care and support to people experiencing stressful situations—whether that is thoughts of suicide, a mental health concern, or a substance use issue. 
Resource availability: Call or text 988

Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information and Resource Kit
Description: Resource for prevention professionals, health care providers, and educators regarding current health issues among LGBT populations.
Resource availability: Internet

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Recommended Actions to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities
Description: Summary of the efforts taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the lives of LGBT people, as well as recommendations for future action.
Resource availability: Internet

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Last Revised: August 4, 2022