EDEN PRARIE, Minn. (Sep. 9, 2021) – OptumHealth Education, in partnership with OutCare Health, has launched an accredited, no-cost, and publicly available education program to teach health care professionals about the unique health care needs and disparities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. The series is designed to promote a more equitable, affirming and supportive health care environment for LGBTQ+ people through increased provider education and understanding.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities linked to social stigma and discrimination1. Studies have found that an estimated 8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, and almost 27% of transgender patients, have reported being denied health care services2.
The program is an on-demand, publicly available webcast on OptumHealthEducation.com at no cost, and is eligible for continuing education credits. The series identifies the negative effects that implicit bias, stigma and discrimination can have on the mental and physical health of those in the LGBTQ+ community; discusses the appropriate pronouns and terminology to use in respectful communication with members of the LGBTQ+ community; covers the specific and unique health-related risks and disparities that are experienced by the LGBTQ+ community; and identifies how to create a health care environment in which members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel validated, welcome and safe to discuss health issues.
Future modules starting in fall 2021 will offer more in-depth provider-focused education around the unique health care needs of specific populations within the LGBTQ+ community, such as caring for transgender patients.
In conjunction with the education, Optum created PRIDE365+, a website that provides resources to educate and support LGBTQ+ community members and allies in creating open, safe and respectful working and living environments. PRIDE365+ includes a resource guide, an LGBTQ+ terminology and pronoun guide, a transgender support guide, and a "How to be an Ally" guide, along with informational content from Optum partner Trans Lifeline, a grassroots nonprofit 501(c)(3) offering emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis.
"LGBTQ+ people face a number of unique challenges and barriers when it comes to their health and well-being. Many of these barriers are rooted in discrimination, stigma and a simple lack of awareness and knowledge," said Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, Optum senior national medical director, Office for Provider Advancement. "We launched this educational series as part of our commitment to advancing health equity and improving the health care experience for everyone we serve."
Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, was developed in partnership with OutCare Health, a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) LGBTQ+ health equity organization, which offers directories of providers and public resources, mentorship, webinars, blogs, research and cultural competency trainings.
"We're proud to launch this educational series with OptumHealth Education and Optum, and to address these disparities head-on," said OutCare Health Founder and President Dr. Dustin Nowaskie. "Working with one of the leading health care services companies in the United States to design this training means we can reach more providers and make a meaningful impact on the barriers LGBTQ+ people experience within the health care system."
Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, is offered by OptumHealth Education, an organization dedicated to providing interprofessional continuing education that improves patient outcomes and positively affects the delivery of health care. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
For more information or to sign up for the educational series, please visit OptumHealthEducation.com.