Military Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Awareness Training for Health Care Providers Within the Military Health System

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals serving within the U.S. military and their beneficiaries have unique health care requirements. Department of Defense Directive 1304.26 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” created a barrier for service members to speak candidly with their health care providers, which left specific health care needs unaddressed. There are no standardized cultural education programs to assist Military Health System (MHS) health care providers in delivering care to LGBT patients and their beneficiaries. PURPOSE: The purpose of this project was to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of an LGBT educational program for health care providers within the MHS to increase cultural awareness in caring for this special population. METHOD: This multisite educational program was conducted at Travis Air Force Base and Joint Base Lewis-McChord from November 15, 2014, to January 30, 2015. A 15-question multiple-choice questionnaire was developed based on the education program and was administered before and after the education program. A total of 51 individuals completed the program. RESULTS: Overall posttest scores improved compared to pretest scores. CONCLUSION: This program was designed to begin the process of educating health care providers about the unique health care issues of military LGBT Service Members and their beneficiaries. This program was the first to address the disparities in LGBT health care needs within the Department of Defense. It also provided a platform for facilitating open communication among providers regarding LGBT population health needs in the military.

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