Discussion Summary: Community Care for LGBTQ+ Health

LGBTQ+ communities have long known that health is more than a good doctor and a prescription pad. Being well requires safe environments, supportive caregivers, and a meaningful social circle. This communal knowledge is echoed today by the Surgeon General’s warning on how loneliness and social isolation derail our health. This Connecting Conversation features programs with a community care approach—supporting patients and clients with more than just medicine.

Recording of panel on February 28, 2024.

PANELISTS:

Audrey Davis, Cancer Support Community, Senior Director – Health Equity
Audrey Davis has over a decade of experience creating and managing programs focusing on the intersection of behavioral wellness and health outcomes, emphasizing innovative approaches to systems integration.
www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

Andre Ford, Colours Organization, Executive Administrator
Andre Ford transitioned to community-focused work in Philadelphia after eight years of military service. He is currently a lecturer on non-profit management at the University of Pennsylvania, and actively involved in various community advisory boards addressing AIDS research and mental health.
www.coloursorganization.org/

Luna Gayeski, Plume, Program Manager
As Plume’s Community & Wellness Program Manager, Luna Gayeski applies their background in counseling and HIV care to center connection and community in LGBTQ healthcare.
www.getplume.co/ 

 

CONVERSATION SUMMARY:

Understanding the Landscape:

    • Audrey Davis highlighted the Cancer Support Community’s dedication to providing free psychosocial support services to cancer patients and their loved ones, reaching diverse communities across various locations.
    • Andre Ford emphasized the Colours Organization’s commitment to creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth, addressing HIV awareness, and focusing on holistic wellness, all while acknowledging the importance of listening to the community’s needs.
    • Luna Gayeski, representing Plume, showcased their health tech startup’s transformative efforts in healthcare for transgender individuals through clinical care and community programming.

Themes Addressed:

    • The discussion touched on the layers of disconnection faced by marginalized communities.
    • The importance of culturally competent care was underscored.
    • The impact of not being seen by professionals in healthcare was discussed.
    • The panelists stressed the significance of forming real relationships, creating intentional connections, and recognizing the energy derived from social interactions.

Calls to Action:

    • Active Listening: Healthcare practitioners, advocates, and allies must prioritize active listening to understand the unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Recognize the importance of diverse voices and experiences.
    • Culturally Competent Care: Advocate for and implement culturally competent care in healthcare settings. This includes training programs, awareness campaigns, and policy changes that promote inclusivity.
    • Community Building: Emphasize the significance of forming real relationships and creating intentional connections within communities. Foster a sense of belonging and support.
    • Addressing Loneliness: Develop strategies to address loneliness and isolation, especially within LGBTQ+ and cancer communities. Consider community-specific programs that cater to the unique challenges faced by these groups.
    • Digital Inclusion: Address digital divides by ensuring equitable access to healthcare services, especially in remote or marginalized areas. Leverage technology to reach and support individuals, addressing disparities in healthcare access.
    • Advocacy for Funding: Advocate for increased funding for organizations working on the front lines of LGBTQ+ health. Support initiatives that focus on community care and well-being.
    • Shared Decision-Making: Encourage healthcare practitioners to actively engage in shared decision-making and respectful care. Involve patients in the decision-making process to ensure their needs and preferences are considered.

View the Slide Deck

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