Grant Application

Edward Garofolo, MD, Partners in Health–UPMC

Proposed Innovation

LGBTQ+ individuals often experience health disparities. They frequently lack access to primary care and are more likely to experience poorer mental health a greater incidence of substance misuse and increased cardiovascular disease. They also are also less likely to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan or have access to preventive services and cancer screening.

The poorer health outcomes have been attributed to stigma and discrimination, as well as the likelihood that LGBTQ+ individuals will delay seeking care because of past experiences in health care settings. Patients point to a need for providers who are respectful and considerate of their unique needs. This project aims to address those needs by establishing an LGBTQ+ affirming clinic designation.

Improvements in Action

The project focuses on three goals:

    1. Developing an affirming clinic designation based on input from focus groups and a workgroup. This information also will be used to create a toolkit that clinics can use to assess their practice and identify barriers to equitable care for LGBTQ+ patients.
    2. Training clinics to become affirming clinics providing high quality care for LGBTQ+ people in a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment.
    3. Improving cultural awareness and competency in the care of LGBTQ+ patients and other diverse patients.

Intended Outcomes

Improving the clinical environment and the quality of care provided to LGBTQ+ patients will result in better health outcomes. In addition, the toolkit and affirming clinic designation developed through the project can be used across the entire UPMC health system to ensure LGBTQ+ individuals receive respectful, sensitive, high quality, and culturally responsive care.