Reducing the Transmission & Impact of COVID-19 on the Transgender Community

Providing culturally competent services and COVID-19 prevention information to transgender individuals in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Reducing the Transmission & Impact of COVID-19 on Wisconsin's Transgender CommunityPrincipal Investigator:Andrew Petroll, MD, MedicineAward Amount:$97,594
Award Date
April2020
Project Duration:6 months

Project Description Narrative:


Transgender individuals are among the most medically, economically, and socially vulnerable persons in the U.S. Transgender communities throughout the U.S. and in Wisconsin face numerous health disparities, including higher rates of HIV, depression and suicidality, and some cancers. They are more likely to live in poverty and to be homeless, and less likely to have social or practical support from family members. This combination of factors makes transgender people less likely to maintain physical distancing, “shelter-in-place” to avoid COVID-19, or to quarantine if they are exposed to or acquire it. Additional disparities — such as higher rates of smoking, asthma, and heart disease than the general population — also place transgender individuals at particular risk of complications if infected.

This project aims to provide a range of culturally competent services and information to assist and empower transgender individuals to successfully avoid COVID-19 and cope with its associated circumstances.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


  • Identified opportunities to provide education and social support to the Wisconsin transgender community, a population in need of culturally tailored health information and support
     
  • Established and staffed an online and phone resource to support targeted population in accessing information related to health care, housing, events, and services available during the project period. Provided intensive assistance to necessary inquiries that included ongoing help with acquiring housing, health insurance, or finding support to respond to mental health crises
     
  • Developed and distributed updated, culturally relevant educational materials about COVID-19 to Wisconsin’s transgender community
     
  • Presented 37 online webinars and educational events, bringing information and guidance on a range of topics from experts in health care, social service and advocacy to attendees
     
  • Hosted 48 online social support events, providing a safe and supportive environment for community members aimed at reducing isolation and mental health stress through interactions with peers
     
  • Documented through voluntary surveys positive feedback from participants, who reported the events as useful and resulting in improved support, feeling of hopefulness, and feeling part of a community

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