Augusta University faculty members bring change, diversity to library resources

Three Augusta University faculty members have added some new color to the university libraries’ website.

Lindsay Blake, Dr. David Kriegel and Dr. Lara Stepleman co-developed the new LGBT Health Care Resources page—accentuated by the world-renowned rainbow-colored LGBT pride flag—using a Community Technology Improvement Award from the Southeastern/Atlantic National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

The new site is divided into two sections, one for providers and one for potential patients, to accomplish two important goals.

“We had two goals,” said Blake, assistant professor in the Robert B. Greenblatt Library. “To assist and educate faculty and volunteers working with the LGBT population in the Equality Clinic and to provide a site where LGBT individuals could look for a collection of health resources specifically for their needs.”

The Equality Clinic is a free, student-run clinic dedicated to abolishing barriers to health care. Through serving the health needs of the underinsured in the LGBT community and educating current and future providers in the practice of providing informed, compassionate care, the Equality Clinic hopes to address some of the current health disparities faced by the LGBT community.

The LGBT Health Care Resources provider site outlines ways health care professionals can create an LGBT-inclusive environment, including suggested language and care procedures for treating LGBT patients, according to Stepleman.

“The provider site has specific sections for medical and mental health issues and current standards of care and treatment guidelines,” she said. “For example, the Equality Clinic treats a large number of transgender individuals, and there are international guidelines for care that are frequently updated with regard to best practices for hormone and surgical intervention as well as mental health care and assessment.”

Meanwhile, the patient site, she says, comes with a list of local resources, including information about the Augusta Equality Clinic and the Augusta University Ryan White Program.

The change comes at a crucial time for the university and the community.

In 2014, Augusta was ranked lowest among Georgia cities for treatment of its LGBT community according to the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index. That same measure found Augusta lacking in 2015 as well, tied for last place with Briarcliff, an unincorporated community in DeKalb County.

While an important first step, Blake stressed that the resources available now are only the beginning.

“We hope to expand the site to include a list of local physicians and other providers in the area who have experience working with and have been recommended by the LGBT community,” she said. “The website provides another visible sign that Augusta University and the health system are LGBT-friendly and provide a safe and comfortable environment for learning and health care.”

Visit the LGBT Health Care Resources page for more information.

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Nick Garrett
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Nick Garrett

Nick Garrett is a communications coordinator in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him at 706-446-4802 or ngarret1@augusta.edu.

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Nick Garrett Written by Nick Garrett

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