Symposium to focus on trans and gender diverse communities in rural America

Jun 5, 2018

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Ohio University LGBT Center have partnered with the Equitas Health Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity to conduct a daylong summit for health and social service professionals about improving access to care and the quality of care for the trans community living in rural areas. Rural Voices: Caring for Trans and Gender Diverse Communities will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, in Irvine Hall in Athens.

Keynote speaker Scott Lebowitz, M.D., a leading national and international authority on the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ youth and medical director of behavioral health for Nationwide Children's Hospital’s THRIVE gender development program, will open the summit with his address, Meeting the Needs of Gender Diverse and Transgender Youth Across Development.

Summit participants will learn how to improve care for transgender and gender diverse people living in rural America through the following:

  • Developing a foundational knowledge about gender diversity, including health needs and disparities
  • Increasing skills and confidence for providing medical and behavioral health services to transgender and gender diverse communities
  • Identifying strategies to meet the unique health care needs of gender diverse communities in a rural context
  • Connecting health and social service providers with resources for transgender and gender diverse communities

Breakout sessions led by health and social service professionals will cover topics including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Services in rural  Ohio, a once-daily medication used for the prevention of HIV before exposure occurs, and health disparities in the LGBTQ community.

For more information or to register, visit

Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from this event will go to the Southeastern Ohio LGBT Coalition to support their mission.

Established in 1984, Equitas Health (formerly AIDS Resource Center Ohio), is a regional not-for-profit community-based healthcare system and federally qualified community health center look-alike. Its expanded mission has made it one of the nation’s largest HIV/AIDS, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) healthcare organizations. With 17 offices in 11 cities, it serves more than 67,000 individuals in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia each year through its diverse healthcare and social service delivery system focused around: primary and specialized medical care, community pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, HIV/STI prevention, advocacy, and community health initiatives. The Equitas Health Pharmacy & Prizm magazine operate as social enterprises for Equitas Health; 100% of profits are reinvested back into the organization’s programs and services.

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio. CARE LEADS HERE.