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BACKGROUND: University of Rhode Island (URI) students in a graduate-level course, Interdisciplinary Teamwork in Health and Human Services, collaborated with a local health provider, Wood River Health Services (WRHS), to create training materials for its staff on the topic of sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI). WRHS is a federally-funded, comprehensive community health center located in a rural area of Rhode Island. It provides medical, dental, and mental health services. WRHS had been advised to enhance its attention to issues related to SOGI.
OBJECTIVES The aims for this project were: 1. Assess needs and priorities of WRHS staff around knowledge and attitudes about SOGI and health care; 2. Create a training tool for staf fto enable them to facilitate patient comfort in disclosing SOGI-related information that would assist them in addressing individual needs of patients; 3. Provide students an opportunity to effectively learn and practice interprofessionally.
METHODS The students--representing three different health fields (Occupational Therapy, Human Development and Family Studies, and Pharmacy)--researched SOGI issues related to their fields. Students met with WRHS staff to develop a clear understanding of the center’s barriers to adequately provide care to LGBTQ+ patients. They conducted a survey to assess staff attitudes and knowledge about SOGI terminology, health disparities, and the importance of a welcoming environment that informed the development of a training presentation. Staf can complete it at their convenience, and it can be used as part of onboarding new staff. Retrospective pre/post-tests were administered to students and WRHS staff.
CONCLUSION Informational presentations are a useful tool for agencies looking to build capacity and comfort among staff around SOGI. Additionally, providing students with opportunities to learn with, from, and about each other is a critical component of health professions education.
SOGI, Interprofessional, Collaboration
Sweeney, B. A.; Carcieri, A.; Falleni, A. M.; Gatewood, L. A.; Rodriguez, M. L.; Bell, H.; Croke, A.; and Clark, P. G., "Innovative Interprofessional Collaboration: Addressing the Need for Education for Health Center Workers around Patients' Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)" (2020). Sex and Gender Health Education Summit 2020 – Virtual Meeting. 20.