UK physician wins advocacy award for LGBTQ health initiative
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community have long faced challenges seeking fundamental healthcare services and resources that are both culturally affirming and informed.
Because of this, in 2016, Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett, a physician at UK Family & Community Medicine, spearheaded the Transform Health initiative to increase LGBTQ healthcare engagement by promoting services centered on the unique needs of these patients. This year, Fallin-Bennett was given the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Advocate Award for her work.
The STFM Advocate Award recognizes outstanding work in civic advocacy at the local, state or national level. Recipients are chosen based on the innovativeness and sustained impact of their work.
“More and more people have insurance but don’t know how to seek inclusive providers,” Fallin-Bennett said. “We wanted to create a space that had a name that members of the LGBTQ community could identify with – and a way to get into the system that’s just one big question mark.”
Transform Health clinic
Concerns about privacy, safety and stigmatization are just some of the factors contributing to health disparities affecting the LGBTQ community.
The Transform Health clinic is a partnership of UK HealthCare providers who have the shared goal of improving the climate of healthcare in numerous ways. Clinic services include primary and preventive care, hormone therapy, counseling, and tobacco cessation therapy. Transform Health providers also offer access to PrEP, a highly effective HIV prevention medication.
Creating inclusive healthcare settings extends beyond providing services, Fallin-Bennett said. Transform Health providers also seek to educate current and future clinicians from all fields on how to address LGBTQ care and specific issues. Additionally, providers working with Transform Health host periodic “Sound Off” educational events covering subjects such as reproductive options, sexuality and sexual health. These events are free and open to the public.
“We want patients to be able to identify a safe and welcoming space for care and be a resource for students and providers,” Fallin-Bennett said.