BCBSM awards $50,000 to Corktown Health’s new LGBTQIA+ education and training initiative – State of Reform


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) reward $50,000 to support the creation of the Corktown Health Institute, which aims to expand education and training for providers and organizations on LGBTQIA+ affirming care.

The Institute will play the role of “education, policy and advocacy branch” of Corktown Health Centerthe first medical home focused on services to the LGTBQIA+ community in Southeast Michigan.

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Along with funding from BCBSM, the Institute is partnering with Wayne State School for Medicine, the DMC Foundation, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and several LGBTQIA+ community centers to expand and enact the program.

According to the BCBSM, the Institute’s first actions will include the development of online programs on LGBTQIA+ affirming care for physicians and providers offering training and a compiled directory of LGBTQIA+ affirming providers in the state.

“So many people in practice today had no formal training in this area,” said Diane Levine, MD, vice president for education and professor in the department of internal medicine at Wayne State University. “When people practice medicine, the practices age with them. The way doctors think is influenced by the reading they do and their continuing education. Many people in practice today have not done [LGBTQIA+ inclusive health care] a focus of their continuing education.

The Institute’s mission is to provide broad education to all healthcare professionals and equip them with the tools and knowledge to “effectively and compassionately treat all patients in a positive and inclusive manner.” according to BCBSM.

“The goal of the Institute is to bring together health professionals, researchers and community members working in LGBTQIA+ health fields so that we can improve access to affirming care for all people. residents of Michigan,” said Patrick Yankee, director of development at Corktown Health, leader of the Institute effort.

Corktown Health Center currently offers a variety of integrated health services for LGBTQIA+ members who have barriers to care. These services include primary care, behavioral health care, comprehensive HIV care, support for the elderly, food assistance, and health insurance navigation. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, in 2020, approximately 373,000 Michiganders ages 13 and older identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Often this community does not seek the health services they need because they do not feel safe sharing their personal information about their gender or sexual identity with providers, said BCBSM. This can harm the long-term health and well-being of that community.

This institute of education aims to change that through comprehensive and inclusive education and awareness.

“The establishment of Corktown Health Institute is historic for our community in advancing health equity for all and achieving a resilient and connected LGBTQIA+ community,” said Ken Hayward, Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Community Relations. at BCBSM. “This partnership exemplifies the very need to identify health and healthcare disparities in some of our most underrepresented populations, understand what the barriers to care are, and provide actionable solutions through education. and dialogue.


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