UK Professor Wins Advocacy Award for LGBTQ* Health Care Initiative

Difficulty in accessing culturally affirming and informed health care has long deterred members of the LGBTQ* community from seeking fundamental services and resources. In 2016, Dr. Keisa Fallin-Bennett, an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine, spearheaded the Transform Health initiative to increase LGBTQ* health care engagement by promoting services centered on the unique needs of this patient population. This year, Dr. Fallin-Bennett was selected as the recipient of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Advocate Award. 

The STFM Advocate Award recognizes outstanding work in civic advocacy at the local, state or national level. Recipients are chosen based on the innovativeness and sustained impact of their work.  

"More and more people have insurance, but don't know how to seek inclusive providers," said Fallin-Bennett, "We wanted to create a space that had a name that members of the LGBTQ* community could identify with — and a way to get into the system that's just one big question mark."  

Concerns about privacy, safety and stigmatization are just some of the factors contributing to health disparities affecting the LGBTQ* population. The Transform Health clinic is a partnership of UK HealthCare providers who have the shared goal of improving the climate of care in numerous ways. Clinic services include primary and preventive care, hormone therapy, counseling and tobacco cessation therapy. Transform Health providers also offer access to PrEP, a highly effective HIV prevention medication. 

Creating inclusive health care settings extends beyond providing services, says Dr. Fallin-Bennett. Transform Health providers also seek to directly educate current and future clinicians from all fields on how to address LGBTQ* care and specific issues. Additionally, providers working with Transform Health host periodic "Sound Off" educational events covering subjects like reproductive options, sexuality and sexual health. These events are free and open to the public.  

"We want patients to be able to identify a safe and welcoming space for care and be a resource for students and providers," said Fallin-Bennett. 

Transform Health providers are accessible from multiple UK clinic locations. Services are available for UK students and the community at large.