Meaningful Care Conference Held During 2014 LGBT Health Awareness Week

March 28 event will provide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer cultural competency training for health and social service providers in the Northwest

LGBT Health Awareness Week is a call to action for community members, advocates, service providers, and governmental officials to recognize health and wellness as an essential part of the social justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, families and the wider community.


Now in its sixth year, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Meaningful Care Conference is a regional response to this national effort and is being coordinated by the LGBTQ Health Coalition of the Columbia-Willamette. The conference is aimed at educating prospective and current health care professionals on culturally competent, best practice strategies when providing medical care and social service support to LGBT patients.


Steven Barrios (Long Time Holy Rain), a Two-Spirit Leader from Montana and Dr. Scout of the Fenway Institute will be this year’s keynotes along with an opening session highlighting OHSU’s journey to becoming a safe space for employees and patients that identify as members of the LGBTQ community.


  1. Cultural competency training is a proven means to mitigate health disparities in many populations. LGBTQ communities confront an array of disparities, including:


  • LGBTQ youth are much more likely to be victimized in school and to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.


  • LGBTQ people are often reluctant to seek care or to "come out" to health providers, leading to under-screening and intervention likely to result in poor health.


  • Gay men and lesbian women are at increased risk for certain cancers (lung, cervical, breast and anal cancer), due to a higher prevalence of smoking and inadequate risk assessment and screening by providers.


In addition to disparities in health and health risk behaviors, LGBTQ people face documented structural, financial, and cultural barriers to accessing health care services. Provider bias regarding LGBTQ people or patients has be clearly documented in the literature and many providers report they feel uncomfortable or inadequately trained in discussing patients’ sexual histories. These barriers translate into disparities for LGBTQ people when receiving preventive health care services and decreased health care utilization.


"We all, including public health and the health care system, have a responsibility to address health equity and disparities in every way possible. By addressing both the training needs of individual providers and necessary changes in the systems of care, this conference will strive for mutual understanding that lead to healthy outcomes for LGBTQ Oregonians."


Liz Baxter, Executive Director of Oregon Public Health Institute

2014 Meaningful Care Conference Chair.


"Everybody deserves respect, dignity and equality when it comes to the essential human right of access to health care. We can only achieve that goal by making sure providers offer culturally competent care to the LGBTQ community."


Marissa Madrigal, Multnomah County Chair




The Meaningful Care Conference is coordinated by the LGBTQ Health Coalition of the Columbia-Willamette with the support of member organizations, health systems, providers and consumers who share a vision of culturally competent health care for LGBTQ consumers: Basic Rights Oregon, Cascade AIDS Project, SAGE, Legacy Health Systems, Multnomah County Health Department, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Health Sciences University, Outside In, Partnership Project, Q Center, Quest Center for Integrative Health, and Multnomah County Chair Marissa Madrigal, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel.


The conference will be held:

March 28, 2014

8:30 AM – 5 PM

Lloyd DoubleTree

1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland, Oregon, United States 97232

6.5 CEU and 6.5 CME certifications are provided


Registration and more information is available at


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