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Dr. Abbas Jessani, Assistant Professor at the College of Dentistry. (Photo: Submitted)

USask researchers explore the experiences of the 2SLGBTQ population while accessing healthcare services

Working with Dr. Karen Lawson, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science and collaborators from OUTSaskatoon Dr. Abbas Jessani will conduct research examining the experiences of the 2SLGBTQ population while accessing healthcare services in Saskatoon, SK.

Dr. Abbas Jessani, has received funding through the USask Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Explore Grant competition for his research project Experiences of the 2SLGBTQ population while accessing healthcare services in Saskatoon, SK. Dr. Jessani will be working with Dr. Karen Lawson, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science, as well as with Rachel Loewen Walker, Executive Director, and Danielle Richardson, Development Officer, at OUTSaskatoon.

The purpose of this project is to explore the experiences of the 2SLGBTQ while accessing healthcare services, including medical, dental and social services in Saskatoon, SK. The information collected will help to identify existing gaps, concerns, challenges and health disparities that the 2SLGBTQ community is faced with.

“The 2SLGBTQ community face multiple layers of social and individual stigma and discrimination in our society, and while they have equal rights, often this stigma and discrimination is experienced when accessing the health care system.” Said Jessani. “They often report negative interactions, such as verbal abuse and disrespect, and feel judged and unsafe while disclosing healthcare issues, which signifies a lack of cultural competency within our healthcare system. These are serious issues, as they prevent individuals from disclosing the entirety of their healthcare information or accessing the appropriate health services.”

The study will employ a Community-based Participatory Research approach with partnership and engagement between the community and researchers. It will include two focus groups to explore the experiences of stigma and discrimination faced by 2SLGBTQ individuals accessing healthcare services in the Saskatoon area.

“The information we collect will serve as a baseline for identifying and addressing inequalities around the issues of stigma and discrimination in the healthcare system. As an oral healthcare professional, our goal is not only to provide the best evidence-based treatment to our patients but also provide a safe dental home especially for the minority sub-groups where they can share their healthcare concerns without being judged or stigmatized.” Said Jessani. “Ultimately, the data collected will provide a starting point for more intensive research on this topic as we take a closer look at the experiences of the 2SLGBTQ community and work to find solutions for the barriers to care that they experience.”

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