Oral health does not exist in a silo. The mouth-body connection is a biological aspect of physical wellbeing that exists alongside the social and political drivers of whole-person health. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and agender/ asexual people, and people of other marginalized gender or sexual identities (LGBTQIA+), have experienced historical exclusion from healthcare systems perpetuated by chronic stigma.
Ongoing discrimination, cultural insensitivity, and blatant homophobia/transphobia among healthcare staff results in poor health outcomes, including oral health. These exchanges either facilitate or inhibit respectful, high-quality, patient-centered care cognizant of intersectionality. In 2022, the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) disseminated a mixed-methods survey to just over 200 oral health professionals to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding LGBTQIA+ oral health.
An evaluation of the survey results found:
- While oral health professionals feel comfortable working with LGBTQIA+ people in both a personal and professional capacity, they are least comfortable both personally and professionally around transgender youth.
- An investment in inclusive educational curricula creates a ripple effect toward increasing inclusive institutional environments, professional practices, and overall support for LGBTQIA+ people.
- Respondents indicated that they lack awareness of several LGBTQIA+ issues but also expressed eagerness to access resources for self-education.
Suggested citation: Cothron AE, Clermont D, Shaver A, Alpert E, Ogwo C. Improving knowledge, comfort, and attitudes for LGBTQIA+ clinical care and dental education. The American Institute of Dental Public Health. San Antonio, Texas: July 2023.