Announcing the 2020 Transforming Care Award Winners

The Transforming Care Awards honor people and organizations who have made exceptional contributions to the health and wellness of the LGBTQ+ and/or HIV communities in the Midwest. Since 2016, we have been proud to offer this recognition to outstanding leaders in our community. We are pleased to present to you the nominees and winners of the 5th annual Transforming Care Awards. Transforming Care Conference attendees can join Equitas Health Institute Lead Trainer Ramona Peel (she/her) and Kaleidoscope Youth Center Deputy Director Karen Hewitt (ze/hir/she/her) for a

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Life+ Weekend: Cultivating Community Connections Despite COVID-19

On September 18-19, people living with HIV met at a five scenic sites across Ohio to renew their bonds of community and friendship. The Life+ Weekend was a first-of-its-kind event that provided an opportunity to connect with old and new friends despite the current public health emergency in face-to-face socially distanced settings.  As Equitas Health Prevention Education Manager Matthew Ellwood told us, “This was an overnight retreat for people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly long-time survivors or anyone age 40 and above Five Ohio state parks hosted

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Lesbian Health Concerns: Often Invisible

When we talk about the health care challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community, the specific concerns of lesbians are often overlooked. Not only do lesbian members of our community face the same obstacles to high-quality care that all women do, and that all LGBTQ+ people do, but there are more specific issues that are directly relevant to our lesbian friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. What are some of the specific health disparities that impact lesbians?  -Lesbian women suffer from higher rates of breast cancer and cervical cancer,

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Cast Your Ballots – For the 2020 Transforming Care Awards

This year at the Transforming Care Conference, we are once again honoring five outstanding people and one superlative organization who have made major positive impacts on behalf of the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities. This year, our Awards Committee is putting additional emphasis on recognizing providers, community activists, and organizations who are helping provide care and support to The Invisibles while also actively fighting white supremacy. Now it’s your turn to make sure your voice is heard! You can submit your nominees for the 2020 Transforming Care

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The Unique Problems for LGBTQ+ Folks in Rural Areas

Approximately 15 million people in the US are LGBTQ+, and despite persistent stereotypes to the contrary, a significant chunk of this population lives in rural areas. About one out of every five LGBTQ+ folks in the US lives in sparsely populated areas outside of major cities, and these 3 million people face additional challenges on top of the ones faced my sexual and minorities everywhere. Despite this, there is an expectation that rural LGBTQ+ folks should move (or want to move) to more “friendly” urban areas.

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Register Now for Transforming Care 2020

http://transformingcareconference.com/2020-registration/  The Equitas Health Institute, OhioHealth, and the OSU Wexner Medical Center will welcome hundreds of activists, academics, community members, and health & social service professionals to our virtual conference space October 14-16. The conference will provide a unique opportunity for professionals and community members from across the nation and the globe to come together online and share not only research and best practices, but also practical information about topics including family planning, wellness activities, and health and safety initiatives. This year’s conference theme is focused

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International Non-Binary People’s Day 2020

Happy International Non-Binary People’s Day, y’all! While some of the terminology might be new, in human populations there have always been folks whose gender identity didn’t fit neatly into the male or female boxes. Here’s some tips to be a better ally and advocate for non-binary people: 1. Don’t assume or guess what another person’s gender identity is based on observable gender expression cues. 2. Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns to signal your intent to be inclusive. This also will create space for the

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Are You Creating an Environment Where LGBTQ+ People Feel Welcome?

One of the most important parts of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ folks is basic structural competency. How does interacting with your organization’s website, social media accounts, and online scheduling tools make members of this marginalized population feel? Do they see themselves included in how your organization presents itself? Do they see indicators of your organization’s intent to be LGBTQ+ inclusive? Do your forms avoid asking questions rooted in heteronormative or cisnormative assumptions? Do patients have the ability to share their chosen names?

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COVID-19 and Pivoting to Virtual Learning

The Institute has not been immune to the vast and unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Before the pandemic, the vast majority of our training and education work had been conducted in person. In some cases, training would be administered in a small room to a handful of people in close quarters. At the other extreme, our trainers would address packed auditoriums filled with hundreds of participants. As you can imagine, while in-person training is not impossible, the circumstances where it can be done

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Supreme Court Ruling Outlaws Employment Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ Employees

The last few years have mostly seen setbacks in the arena of LGBTQ+ rights, most notably with the Trump Administration’s attempts to strip civil rights protections from trans and non-binary folks. However, the movement scored a major victory at the US Supreme Court on June 15 in the case of Bostock v Clayton County. In fact, this victory could have broader positive effects than the landmark decision that made marriage equality the law of the land five years ago today. Why is this ruling so important?

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We’re #stillteaching during COVID-19

We’re #stillteaching during COVID-19

The “new normal” must include affirming healthcare. That’s why we’re now offering all of our workshops and trainings as webinars.   Recently Lead Trainer Ramona Peel conducted a live webinar titled, “Combatting Bias via Cultural Humility: Making Historical Sites More Inclusive for the LGBTQ+ Community,” with AmeriCorps members at the Ohio History Connection. Here’s what one participant had to say: “I am so glad we still had the opportunity to learn how historical sites can combat bias with cultural humility, even though the in-person training had

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LGBTQ+ Provider Guide Now Digital!

LGBTQ+ Provider Guide Now Digital!

The Equitas Health Institute Provider Guide is a listing of Ohio medical and social service providers who offer varying degrees and types of LGBTQ+ affirming care. Now you can search the guide by geographic region on our website! Providers listed in this guide answered “yes” to at least one of the following questions. When searching the guide, you’ll use tthe corresponding symbols to determine the nature of LGBTQ+ affirming services each provider offers. PROVIDER COLOR KEY: Has had LGBTQ-specific cultural competency training. Have you received any

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Transforming Care 2020: Call for Abstracts

Transforming Care 2020: Call for Abstracts

We are excited to announce we are accepting abstracts for the 2020 Transforming Care Conference between April 6, 2020 and June 1, 2020. Transforming Care has come to be known as the most comprehensive conference on LGBTQ+ HIV health equity in the country. Conference participants tell us that what makes TCC so transformative is the mix of people—researchers, practitioners, activists, community members all broadening each other’s perspectives. This year’s TCC theme will be The Invisibles. SUBMIT A PROPOSAL We seek proposals presented by and geared toward

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VARIAT Sim App Teaches Empathy

VARIAT Sim App Teaches Empathy

When Nationwide Children’s Hospital developed the new app, VARIAT Sim (Virtual and Augmented Reality Implicit Association Training), they called on the expertise of the Equitas Health Institute to guide their module addressing implicit biases toward sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in a healthcare setting. The VARIAT Sim app provides healthcare workers an in-person, onsite perspective to promote empathy and decrease implicit bias. By successfully completing the SOGI module, Medicaid providers will:   Increase their awareness of implicit biases. Learn how biases and social determinants of

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Ramona’s Speech at Yellow Springs Pride – June 27, 2019

Ramona’s Speech at Yellow Springs Pride – June 27, 2019

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Another Trump Administration Attack Upon Trans Folks

Another Trump Administration Attack Upon Trans Folks

Another Trump Administration Attack Upon Trans Folks – And What You Can Do About It The Trump Administration is continuing its sustained attack on trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. Coming on the heels of the trans military ban, and a proposal to allow discrimination on the basis of gender identity in homeless shelters, is a new attempt to strip trans folks of rights they gained under the Affordable Care Act. Before the creation of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), many insurance plans

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National Transgender HIV Testing Day

National Transgender HIV Testing Day

National Transgender HIV Testing Day By Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer With actions like the transgender troop ban, the current administration is directly targeting trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks and putting their health, wellness, and overall safety at risk. In addition to these sort of direct attacks, this administration’s attempts to weaken access to health care also puts additional stress on a population that already has an above-average need for health and wellness services. Thankfully, Equitas Health, along with a number of other organizations across Ohio,

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2019 LGBT Health Awareness Week

2019 LGBT Health Awareness Week

2019 LGBT Health Awareness Week By Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer This is LGBT Health Awareness Week, and the staff of the Institute would like to tell you about the health and wellness challenges facing this community, and what we are doing to try to improve health outcomes for LGBTQ+ folks in Ohio and beyond. First of all, it’s important to note the growth of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Pansexual, and more) community. A 2018 Gallup poll showed that the percentage of the US

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Marginalized on Valentine’s Day

Marginalized on Valentine’s Day

Marginalized on Valentine’s Day By Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer This Thursday is Valentine’s Day, and many of us who are in relationships are scrambling to buy gifts and make reservations at our favorite restaurants. It’s a holiday that traditionally has centered and celebrated monogamous straight cisgender couples. However, as gay, lesbian and bisexual folks have become more visible, and their relationships have gained more public acceptance and legal status, they’ve become more able to openly celebrate their love on Valentine’s Day as well. While that is

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UPDATE: Trans Military Service in the United States

UPDATE: Trans Military Service in the United States

UPDATE: Trans Military Service in the United States By Ramona Peel On Tuesday, January 22 the US Supreme Court lifted a number of lower court injunctions that were preventing President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender military service from going into effect. In brief, here’s where things stand: The ban still has not gone into effect, because the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision yesterday did not cover all of the various injunctions that had been filed. However, it is likely that those injunctions will be lifted as

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Rural Voices: Caring for Trans and Gender Diverse Communities in Rural America

Rural Voices: Caring for Trans and Gender Diverse Communities in Rural America

Rural Voices: Caring for Trans and Gender Diverse Communities in Rural America June 7, 2018 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Rural Voices is a day-long summit for health and social service professionals to learn how to improve care for transgender and gender diverse people living in rural America. The learning objectives for Rural Voices are: Develop a foundational knowledge about gender diversity, including health needs and disparities. Increase skills and confidence for providing medical and behavioral health services to transgender and gender diverse communities. Identify strategies to

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The Atomic Girl Who Roamed the Buckeye State

The Atomic Girl Who Roamed the Buckeye State

The Atomic Girl Who Roamed the Buckeye State By Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer So… What does a lead trainer do? Actually, let me start earlier. I grew up next door to one of the largest nuclear waste sites in America. Just down the road from the birthplace of the Nagasaki bomb is Richland, Washington. I went to high school there. I was a Bomber. Yup, we’re the Richland Bombers. Google that. Crazy, right? I know – I’m totally mortified. On top of that, eastern Washington isn’t

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A Note from the Director of the Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity

A Note from the Director of the Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity

A Note from the Director of the Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity By Julia Applegate, Director Welcome to the first issue of the blog.  The Institute, as we like to call it for short, is the education, research and community engagement arm of Equitas Health. Equitas Health is a health care delivery system with 17 offices in 11 cities all across the state of Ohio serving 67,000 individuals on an annual basis. With nearly 400 employees, our parent organization employs nurses, social workers, physicians, pharmacists, HIV prevention

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