Accessing high-quality, inclusive, and affirming health care is a key component to maintaining good physical and mental health. However, LGBTQIA+ individuals face many barriers to accessing health care, including lack of health insurance, a shortage of health care providers that are skilled in treating LGBTQIA+ patients, as well as stigma and discrimination in health care settings.
Many rural LGBTQIA+ residents have the added challenge of finding a knowledgeable and affirming health care provider in areas with existing provider shortages and fewer providers available, compared with urban areas. LGBTQIA+ individuals may choose to forgo or avoid care due to fear of discrimination, which can lead to poorer health outcomes. Among transgender and non-binary rural residents, higher ratings of stigma have been associated with worse ratings of self-reported health, higher prevalence of chronic conditions, and lower utilization of health care.
Access to high-quality, inclusive, welcoming, and affirming health care is important for everyone. Rural LGBTQIA+ residents face additional barriers to accessing such care, which likely contributes to poorer health outcomes in that population. Yet, there are multiple ways to intervene to improve access to LGBTQIA+-affirming care. This case study series highlights two examples of organizations working to do just that, and other rural community leaders and providers can apply their lessons learned in their own efforts to improve LGBTQIA+ care in their rural communities.
Population of Focus: LGBTQ+ Individuals
Links to Resources:
- Read the case study
- Read the executive summary, Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America
- Read the article, LGBTQ Healthcare: Building Inclusive Rural Practices
- Explore the Healthcare Access in Rural Communities webpage