Closing the Healthcare Gap for LGBTQ+ Iowans
In my role at One Iowa, I work with members of the LGBTQ community that are looking desperately for healthcare in Iowa. I receive emails daily searching for LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare and mental healthcare providers. My experience is reflective of the wide gaps that LGBTQ Iowans experience in the area of healthcare; there simply aren’t enough inclusive providers to meet the demands of the LGBTQ community.
This is not isolated to the state of Iowa; according to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 survey, 33% of the Trans and Nonbinary community, the community hit hardest by these gaps, have had one or more negative experiences with a healthcare provider in the last year because of unmitigated anti-LGBTQ bias in healthcare. 50% of Trans and Nonbinary people have had to educate their provider on LGBTQ-specific healthcare needs because there are so few physicians that know how to work with the LGBTQ community. These statistics are startling, but they’re not the end of the story.
At One Iowa, one of our strategic priorities is closing these gaps, and part of that work is our yearly Central Iowa LGBTQ Health and Wellness Conference, in partnership with Des Moines University.
The theme of the conference is promoting physical, mental, social, and spiritual health in the LGBTQ community and is open to providers, medical students, and community members alike. This year, the conference is offering robust panels on spirituality and BIPOC LGBTQ experiences in medicine, as well as best practices for providers, a legislative update to give participants an idea of the political landscape in Iowa, and a keynote focusing on the needs of intersex youth.
Because we understand that this is vital information, the conference is a sliding scale for community members. If you are passionate about LGBTQ liberation and access to basic healthcare needs, this is an essential opportunity to learn more about how to close the gaps that are so prevalent in Iowa and beyond. We hope you’ll join us for our 9th annual LGBTQ Health and Wellness Conference on April 10th and 11th. See you there!