Barriers to Accessing Healthcare for Transgender Populations in Appalachia

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Transgender individuals experience a number of barriers to access to care including lack of availability of competent healthcare providers and stigma in healthcare settings. This is especially true in rural South Central Appalachia, where access to care for the general population is already limited. However, to date, little research has been done assessing the extent to which and reasons for lack of physical and mental healthcare access for transgender and other gender minority populations in this region. In this mixed-methods study we surveyed 155 healthcare providers and conducted focus groups and interviews with 18 patients in order to gain a better understanding of the obstacles to care that local gender minority patients experience. Results indicate that providers have a lack of training and a general lack of knowledge about these populations and their health needs and that many patients have difficulty identifying friendly and competent providers, have experienced stigma in healthcare settings, and often find themselves educating their own providers about their basic health needs. There is a clear need for training of currently-practicing primary care providers in South Central Appalachia on basic gender minority health needs and a need to train providers-in-training about the needs of LGBT patients.


San Diego, CA

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