Transgender individuals face major healthcare challenges. HIV infection and attempted suicide rates in the transgender community are among the highest known. Discrimination in healthcare settings and provider lack of knowledge create unsafe environments, poor quality of care, underutilization of essential services, and limited access to treatment for gender dysphoria. In Tier I, the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC) will build an active partnership comprising transgender community members, investigators, providers, and others to engage in preliminary stages of participatory research focused on improving the cultural sensitivity and quality of health care for transgender individuals.
Transgender Arkansans started ArTEC in February 2014 as a statewide, trans-led organization to advance justice and inclusivity for transgender and gender-nonconforming Arkansans. ArTEC maintains community relationships via a website and Facebook group, along with facilitated face-to-face town hall meetings with transgender individuals and providers. Collaborations with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have included providing training and helping form their LGBTQI Research Interest Group.
In Tier I, ArTEC will establish a working group and expand ongoing engagement of transgender individuals to develop consensus about priority issues comparative effectiveness research can address. Use of web-based and social media resources, and five face-to-face regional summits with interactive discussions, will operationalize engagement and provide data to identify patient-centered outcomes and research priorities. An end-of-project statewide conference will feature presentations summarizing priorities identified and 2015 National Transgender Survey state-specific findings, breakout sessions lead by trans persons and others, and a national transgender speaker with expertise in trans healthcare quality.
^ Andrea Zekis from the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition was the original project lead for this project.