2019 Transforming Care Conference to Tackle LGBTQ+ and HIV Health Equity

Prizm News / September 9, 2019 / By Katie Hobbins

With the theme of “Discover Differences, Break Barriers, Reduce Disparities,” Equitas Health Institute’s annual Transforming Care Conference is ready to dive headfirst into health-related topics that have simply not received their proper due.

With a focus on LGBTQ+ and HIV health equity, Director of Equitas Health Institute Julie Applegate stresses the importance of highlighting the disparities that come hand-in-hand with being a marginalized community in America.

“Because of societal discrimination and stigma, public policy, and the presence of homophobia and transphobia, we have institutionalized structures in place that result in poor health outcomes for LGBTQ+ individuals and people living with HIV,” Applegate explains.

Now in its fourth year, new events have been added to this year’s conference to ensure that these critical issues are addressed, including an opportunity for non-conference attendees to participate.

“We’re going to have a virtual reality showcase this year so people can have a hands-on experience with VR used to teach about social determinants of health and empathy,” she says. “On Thursday night we have something called ‘Elevate Your Voice’ that’s open to the public. It’s for people who don’t have to be attending the conference, but they’re interested in experiencing these stories about [LGBTQ+] people who have had either positive or negative experiences with healthcare.”

There will also be multiple presenters telling their stories of how specific health histories have intersected with their social identity.

“For the first time this year, we will be addressing hearing-impairment directly and how it intersects with sexual orientation and gender identity,” Applegate says. “We have a presenter who is hearing-impaired and he will be delivering that session through ASL and there will be a voice interpreter.”

Understanding that all of these topics can be challenging emotionally, the conference will also supply a resiliency room for guests visit when in need of a quiet space.

“It’s not unlikely that people will get triggered when we’re talking about this kind of subject matter and this community,” Applegate explains. “So we will have a safe space that people can go to in order to decompress and relax. There will be some sensory things in there like weighted blankets and scented oils.”

Applegate hopes that the 2019 conference will bring people together to learn and talk about LGBTQ+ and HIV equity and then continue the conversation for long after the conference ends.

“Our goal really is to make change,” she says. “That’s always what we’re trying to do by bringing all those people together who have a shared interest in the subject matter.”

The 2019 Transforming Care Conference will be held from Oct. 17-18 at The Ohio State University Fawcett Center in Columbus. Visit transformingcareconference.com for more information.

Katie Hobbins is a freelance journalist with a concentration in LGBTQ, entertainment and investigative journalism. Follow her at Katie_Hobbins on Twitter and Wheremyfeetmayfall.com.


Image courtesy of Emma Parker Photography