New Equality Health Survey seeks to identify health needs of CSRA’s LGBT community

Dr. Lara Stepleman, professor of psychiatry and health behavior and director of HIV and MS Psychological Services, needs your help.

Quite a few people do, in fact, and you might just be one of them.

Coordinating with the Equality Clinic of Augusta, Stepleman and her team are currently conducting a study to help evaluate the needs of the CSRA’s LGBT community. As part of the study, they are asking Augusta University faculty, staff and students, if applicable, to take part in and share with others the CSRA Equality Health Survey — an assessment designed to evaluate the health needs of members of the LGBT community.

The survey, which takes roughly 20 minutes to complete, is the latest step in a CSRA-wide effort to improve quality-of-life conditions for members of the LGBT community.

It started as most outreach efforts do, stemming from a need to better understand the needs of others.

“The CSRA Equality Health Survey evolved from wanting to understand and address the needs of patients being served by the Equality Clinic,” Stepleman explained.

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.

But the clinic faces a difficult problem. Despite its best efforts, as an all-volunteer clinic, it serves only a limited number of people.

“We quickly realized that Equality Clinic served a very narrow slice of the LGBT community,” Stepleman said. “If we really wanted to expand our community reach effectively, we needed to extend our focus to the CSRA.”

It’s a daunting task, but it’s one Stepleman said she hasn’t faced alone.

Working alongside MPH students Lauren Wooten Smith and Samantha Murdaugh and Dr. Alexis Rossi, Stepleman and her team developed the CSRA Equality Health Survey based on a number of other health needs assessments implemented across the United States.

“It is a fantastic demonstration of interprofessional collaboration among Augusta University students and faculty,” she said. “This health needs assessment is the first of its kind in the CSRA. We’re excited that Augusta University is propelling this groundbreaking work.”

Stepleman’s hope is that at least 2,000 LGBT individuals in the CSRA will complete the survey. The information gathered will be used to determine the future direction and focus of the Equality Clinic and to help identify the educational needs of health professionals.

According to Stepleman, the study’s findings will then be made available to investigators to support grant applications for research funding targeting reductions in LGBT health disparities.

Visit equalitysurveycsra.com for more information or to complete the CSRA Equality Health Survey.

For more information about the health disparities faced by members of the LGBT community, visit the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s “Healthy People” website here.

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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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