University Presentation Showcase: Undergraduate Division

Project Title

The LGBTQ Health Disparities Gap: Access to Healthcare for LGBTQ Individuals in the United States and the Impact it Has on Their Health

Presenter Information

Clarissa E. DennisFollow

Presenter Hometown

Lexington, KY

Major

Health Services Administration

Department

Health Promotion and Administration

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Dr. Theresa Botts

Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Across the United States there exists a health disparities gap between LGBTQ identifying persons and heterosexual individuals. Statistically, LGBTQ adolescents experience higher rates of emotional distress, suicidality, substance abuse, and health risk behaviors in comparison to their heterosexual peers (Gower et al., 2019). To eliminate this health disparities gap, it is important to understand how social environments can support LGBTQ adolescents, and how these environments can affect them from a young age. A second step in eliminating this gap is to incorporate structural change into medical education. A third way to decrease barriers to care and close the health disparities gap that exists is to introduce cultural competence in healthcare settings. With the introduction of cultural competence into healthcare settings, it will be important to define this term and concept, what it looks like for healthcare workers, and the impact it can have on LGBTQ patients who deserve better access to healthcare. It is the healthcare system’s purpose to create positive social environments for all individuals, with no exclusions. Barriers to care for the LGBTQ community are not all physical but exist on psychological, socioeconomic, and cultural levels that with increased knowledge and willpower, can be overcome. For medical professionals to close the health disparities gap, they must first understand it.

Presentation format

Poster

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The LGBTQ Health Disparities Gap: Access to Healthcare for LGBTQ Individuals in the United States and the Impact it Has on Their Health

Across the United States there exists a health disparities gap between LGBTQ identifying persons and heterosexual individuals. Statistically, LGBTQ adolescents experience higher rates of emotional distress, suicidality, substance abuse, and health risk behaviors in comparison to their heterosexual peers (Gower et al., 2019). To eliminate this health disparities gap, it is important to understand how social environments can support LGBTQ adolescents, and how these environments can affect them from a young age. A second step in eliminating this gap is to incorporate structural change into medical education. A third way to decrease barriers to care and close the health disparities gap that exists is to introduce cultural competence in healthcare settings. With the introduction of cultural competence into healthcare settings, it will be important to define this term and concept, what it looks like for healthcare workers, and the impact it can have on LGBTQ patients who deserve better access to healthcare. It is the healthcare system’s purpose to create positive social environments for all individuals, with no exclusions. Barriers to care for the LGBTQ community are not all physical but exist on psychological, socioeconomic, and cultural levels that with increased knowledge and willpower, can be overcome. For medical professionals to close the health disparities gap, they must first understand it.