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LGBTQ Mental Health

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals experience unique healthcare needs and face significant health disparities. Lack of cultural competence by healthcare providers contributes to these disparities by deterring LGBTQ individuals from seeking medical care, or by providing suboptimal care. Over the past 5-10 years, attention to LGBTQ health disparities has intensified nationwide, with widely-hailed reports from the Institute of Medicine and the Joint Commission serving to catalyze funding and research.

More locally, Santa Clara County recently completed the first needs assessment of the LGBTQ population, which confirmed troubling trends in healthcare discrimination and highlighted significant mental health needs, with more than 42% of respondents indicating the desire to see a healthcare professional to address emotional or substance abuse issues. Despite the pressing demand, there is a dearth of LGBTQfocused health clinics or expertise at Stanford or in the entire Peninsula and South Bay.

This special initiative, founded by Dr. Lawrence McGlynn, aims to expand local resources for the LGBTQ community and train a new generation of providers. We have four ongoing projects.

First, through collaborations with local nonprofits and Santa Clara County government, we are working to launch an LGBTQ health clinic.

Second, we are conducting research among Stanford trainees and faculty on knowledge and comfort caring for the LGBTQ population, as well as interest in further training opportunities.

Third, we are compiling and publicizing existing resources for LGBTQ mental health to educate the local community.

Fourth, we are leading efforts within the residency program to expose trainees and faculty to issues relevant to the LGBTQ community, informally through events such as lunchtime talks, as well as through our formal didactic curriculum.