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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

Culturally Sensitive Care in the Clinic: Understanding LGBTQIA+ Healthcare Best Practice Methods in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley Area Clinics

Becca Birriel

Senior, Nursing


Healthcare providers are struggling to develop and implement culturally affirming and informed health care for LGBTQIA+ people. Currently, in Wisconsin, there are only three clinics that offer culturally affirming LGBTQIA+ healthcare services, none of which are found in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin (Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, & Kaukauna). The specific research question that will be addressed in this study is “What LGBTQIA+ healthcare best practice methods are clinics in the Fox Valley area applying to their practice and how can these methods be improved to decrease LGBTQIA+ healthcare discrepancies? Specifically, do clinics offer LGBTQIA+ services, and are their intake forms, clinic environments, and staff education requirements following best practice guidelines?” A 30 question Qualtrics survey was sent to providers in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin that asked about the clinic’s environment, intake forms, and specific LGBTQIA+ services that are offered. Following data collection, means were calculated; averages depicted how well clinics in the Fox Valley area were meeting LGBTQIA+ healthcare needs. This data offers clinical significance because results show where clinics need to adjust their LGBTQIA+ practices to provide culturally competent care that will increase LGBTQIA+ access to healthcare and decease healthcare disparities in the area.

Project Background 

I am a nursing major at UWO and have worked in healthcare in the Fox Valley region for the past year as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). In addition, I identify within the LGBTQIA+ community and am actively involved on campus as a part of an LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization. In my time working in the hospital, I noticed a lack of LGBTQIA+ training for providers and a lack of culturally competent care being delivered. I had also done research on LGBTQIA+ healthcare providers in the Fox Valley region and struggled to find one to fit my needs. This led me to my research question. My job as a nurse will be to advocate for my patients, so I saw my research as an opportunity to advocate for patients like me and help local clinics develop culturally competent care. This research has played a big role in my senior year and has really helped me gain confidence as a leader and advocate. I am proud that I get to contribute to the local healthcare clinics and improve care for an underrepresented population.

What Do You Think? 

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  1. Morgan DiPietro

    This is a great project!! I have been going to the on campus student health center and have been very pleased with how I have been treated. I feel comfortable talking about being nonbinary and being queer, however, I am a bit concerned about where to find health care after I graduate. I hope more clinics start to integrate more inclusive environments for everyone!

  2. abbie merrill

    What an impactful project that is opening the door for much-needed discussion and policy changes. It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between numbers of years in the practice and the variables you measured.

  3. Sam Looker-Koenigs

    Becca, you’re doing such incredibly important work here. I especially appreciate the education element of your work, how you’ve given the clinics you studied resources so that they can improve what they’re doing. I sincerely hope we see significant changes as a result of your work!

    It’s always so delightful to see my former first-year writers in senior scholar mode. Congrats on this, and graduation, and your Chancellor’s Award, and your job! You’re amazing!

  4. Burgundy Pendragon

    This is so important! LGBTQ+ healthcare is so hard to come by as-is just in the state of Wisconsin, let alone in the Fox Valley. I, myself, go all the way to Chicago to the Howard Brown clinic for my LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare. More light and research needs to be shed on healthcare for our community. Good work!!! Love the poster!


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