Ana Macedo, researcher at the Algarve Biomedical Center and a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of UAlg, has just secured funding for the project 'How to promote equity in health for LGBTQIA+ people? - Finding the gaps and training primary care health professionals,' a project financed by the European Commission aimed at supporting and recognizing citizen science initiatives in Europe.
With a funding of €20,000 allocated to kickstarting projects under the topic 'Cities for life,' this project's main objective is to contribute to improving the health status and equity of individuals belonging to sexual and/or gender minorities (LGBTQIA+).
The project assesses the knowledge, practices, and perception of discrimination by health professionals working in primary healthcare in the Algarve region regarding disparities in the health of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
In its second phase, the project includes training and awareness actions.
Discrimination against individuals belonging to sexual and gender minorities is present in various aspects of society, and although inclusion is part of national and European policies, we are far from achieving true equality and inclusion.
Health is one of the most critical domains, as minority groups have poorer health outcomes than the general population. The reasons are multifaceted, with various factors contributing to this outcome. LGBTQIA+ individuals assume that professionals do not know how to deal with their issues, fear discrimination, and therefore avoid seeking help. On the other hand, healthcare professionals lack specific knowledge, face difficulties with language and communication. The result is a higher burden of diseases and increased mortality.
Addressing the gap, while simultaneously raising awareness and providing practical skills to healthcare professionals to be agents of social change regarding LGBTQIA+ inclusion, is a challenge aimed at promoting health globally and combating social and economic inequalities, making the Algarve, Portugal, and Europe more resilient and inclusive regions.