The landscape of PCOR/CER focused on LGBTQIA+ individuals has been historically limited by: a focus on pathology (specifically HIV, psychiatric diagnosis, and trauma); a “top-down” model, wherein research priorities are identified by funders or researchers, rather than the community; and a dearth of representation in scientific circles of LGBTQIA+ individuals. At the same time, a number of community health centers (CHCs) have been founded across the country, specifically to serve and respond to the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals. These CHCs have a wealth of knowledge and experience about the PCOR/CER interests and concerns of their patient population and are considered trusted allies and resources for their patients and other community stakeholders. However, they lack an infrastructure within which to convene to set priorities for an LGBTQIA+ focused PCOR/CER agenda, and lack the in-house research knowledge and expertise needed to secure large-scale grant support. To address this problem, the project team will convene patients, providers, administrative leadership, researchers, and advocates from five of the leading LGBTQIA+ CHCs across the country to directly address the problems identified above. These five collaborating CHCs are: Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (New York), Howard Brown Health (Illinois), Legacy Community Health (Texas), Lyon-Martin Health Services (California), and Whitman-Walker Health (Washington, DC). This convening will directly address the problems noted above by developing: a partnership among LGBTQIA+ health leaders and a shared agenda and set of priorities for PCOR/CER that is relevant, responsive, and useful to these organizations and their patients. The primary objective of this convening is to develop a stakeholder-driven, multi-pronged agenda for PCOR/CER to advance health equity goals for LGBTQIA+ communities. This convening is the first step in a larger strategic planning process designed to identify:
- Research priorities that are shared among stakeholder groups
- Strategies for building research capacity within each CHC
- Strategies for increasing training opportunities and representation of LGBTQIA+ individuals in all aspects of the research process
- Opportunities for cross-center collaboration on a coordinated PCOR/CER agenda
The team will carry out four activities in pursuit of these objectives:
- Pre-convening listening sessions at each CHC (focusing on patient and clinician stakeholders at each site)
- A two-day convening, including six stakeholders from each CHC (representing patients, clinicians, administrative leadership, researchers, and advocates)
- A written report, including a sustainability plan with action steps toward accomplishing the identified agenda
- A virtual town hall to disseminate content from the convening and solicit additional stakeholder engagement in next steps.
Over the medium and long term, the project team expects this convening to be the first step in a large-scale collaborative LGBTQIA+ PCOR/CER initiative whereby this consortium sets the research agenda and leverages the research process to simultaneously improve outcomes for its patients and increase capacity and representation of LGBTQIA+ individuals in all aspects of the research process. This convening would develop a partnership among LGBTQIA+ health leaders and their patients and create a shared set of priorities for PCOR/CER that is relevant, responsive, and useful to these organizations and the populations they serve.