We are a group of students and healthcare providers who have come together to open a student-run clinic designed to offer quality healthcare in a safe, non-judgmental environment to the uninsured and impoverished of Augusta's LGBTQ community. We believe that every person should feel safe to have their health needs met, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Our nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and students are trained in cultural competency as well as LGBTQ-specific health issues to ensure that we provide the highest level of compassionate care to the community we aim to serve.
We need your help to make this vision a reality. Please help support this project and the Augusta LGBTQ community!
So, why is the Equality Clinic of Augusta a cause worthy of a donation?
Well, let's talk about health disparities within the LGBTQ community.
A 2010 study conducted by Lambda Legal, a leading national civil rights organization, found that 56% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, and 70% of trans* people have been personally refused health care, blamed for their health status, physically abused by a health care professional, verbally abused by a health care professional, or have had medical staff refuse to touch them (Tillery, 2010). As a result of this discrimination and negative experiences with healthcare providers, many LGBTQ patients have fears and concerns about accessing health care, creating a reluctance to seek medical treatment. The reasons for reluctance are depicted in the graph below:
In addition to concerns of discrimination and mistreatment, 50% of LGB people and 90% of trans* people in the study were concerned that health care professionals did not have adequate training to care for their LGBTQ-specific health needs.
There are currently no self-identifying LGBTQ competent providers in the CSRA. In addition to providing quality care for this underserved population, our hopeis that exposing nursing, physician assistant, and medical students to LGBTQ patients and LGBTQ-specific healthcare needs will create a new generation of an entire health care team that is LGBTQ culturally competent.
Finally, the health disparity gap for LGBTQ patients is further amplified by the increased likelihood for LGBTQ people to lack access to health care. Same sex couples are less likely to have health insurance than opposite sex couples partially due to a lack of employee benefits for unmarried partners (Ard, 2012). Additionally, same sex couples and single LGBTQ persons are also more likely than opposite sex couples and heterosexual singles to live in poverty. This is especially true for same sex couples living in rural and smaller metropolitan areas; they have over three times increased risk of living in poverty than lesbian and gay couples living in large cities (Badgett, 2013).
The discrimination experienced by LGBTQ patients and resulting reluctance for LGBTQ patients to access care, in addition to a lack of health care providers educated in LGBTQ-specific health needs, and a disproportionate number of LGBTQ patients without health insurance all create a problematic health disparity for the LGBTQ population.
We believe that by providing healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured LGBTQ people of Augusta, we can help lessen the health disparity in our community, one patient at a time