UW-Madison’s School of Nursing will host the second annual LGBTQ+ Health Summit on campus Friday, April 17.
“This year we did an open call for proposals to get more community input and broaden it out to diverse populations,” School of Nursing Diversity Officer Mel Freitag said.
All students, faculty, staff, healthcare professionals, and community members were encouraged to apply as individuals and/or groups to present on topics related to LGBTQ+ health. Last year, the planning committee selected topics for the summit.
More than 300 healthcare providers, nurses, students, and community members attended the School of Nursing’s first annual LGBTQ+ Health Summit in 2019. This summit helped LGBTQ+-identified healthcare professionals, students and community members in finding community and support to improve LGBTQ+ health outcomes. Participants receive information about best practices and healthcare systems in workshops of their choosing.
“Another thing that’s new this year is that we’re offering continuing education,” Freitag said.
The education will not start and end at the summit. Freitag suggests health professionals looking to become more educated can attend pre-workshops before the summit. She also insisted participants look for learning opportunities afterward.
“I would really like to know what people think at the conference about taking back to their workplaces tomorrow,” Freitag said. “It’s going to be less interpersonal and more about power and systems-level change.”
Some speakers including Community Organizer and Wellness Advocate T. Banks will return for the summit. The conference focused on the intersectional experiences of LGBTQ+ patients last year, centering voices of trans people of color.
She also said she hopes allies begin to create spaces for themselves and to educate each other. Freitag said a lot of time people outside of the community don’t think that they have a role in changing the system or think the work is on the back of people with those identities. This includes having adequate education and improving cultural competencies for health providers.
“The students were the ones who noticed the gap. The students were the ones who said we need more,” Freitag said.
The summit will focus on translating protocols into practice. Frietag said the workshop will center both students and the community. She also said the planning committee did not want the community to be Dane County or Madison centric.
This summit allows people to continue conversations about health equity for LGBTQ+ patients or find an entry point. Frietag said she likes the caucus work because I think it holds space in all the different affiliate groups. She explained that anytime we talk about reproductive health or anatomy, we have a binary understanding of gender and sexuality.
“I think we’re trying to continue the conversation but not provide these finite things to identity because it’s not fluid,” she said.
Registration for the event has already opened. The LGBTQ+ Health Summit will be free and open to the public. The University of Wisconsin announced that all campus events are cancelled through April 10 in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, but the LGBTQ+ Health Summit has not been cancelled.