E99 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Addressing Mental Healthcare in the LGBTQ Community and Serving Gender Diverse Patients with Dr. Rhonda Schwindt and Dr. Stephen Forssell

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What are the greatest mental health disparities in this population? What has been particularly challenging for the transgender population during the COVID-19 pandemic? How can clinicians help recognize and treat the mental health needs of patients in the LGBTQ community, if they do not have advanced or specialized training for this population?

In this double-interview we had the opportunity to sit down with two experts who address these questions, and so much more!

Dr. Rhonda Schwindt is an Associate Professor and Director of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at The George Washington University School of Nursing. She is a nationally certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with an active clinical practice specializing in LBGTQ health, trauma, and treatment-resistant psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Schwindt’s research is focused on reducing the disproportionate impact of substance use disorders among high risk populations. She has developed an innovative online module that prepares clinicians to engage in motivational interviewing and a web-based tool to assist busy clinicians with screening and brief intervention. Dr. Schwindt is currently conducting a study exploring the barriers to, and facilitators of, smoking cessation and treatment utilization among gender diverse people. She has received international recognition as an outstanding nurse educator as well as for clinical excellence in the care of persons living with mental illness.

Dr. Stephen Forssell is the founder, director, and professor of the LGBT Health Policy & Practice Graduate Certificate Program at the George Washington University. In addition, he has been an assistant professor in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department at the George Washington University since 2002 where he teaches courses in sexuality and gender, health psychology, and social psychology. He is on the faculty of the GWU Medical Center School of Medicine and Health Sciences course in Human Sexuality and Clinical Medicine. Dr. Forssell’s expertise is in sexual orientation development, same-sex romantic relationships and parenting, HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, high risk sexual behavior interventions, adolescent and young adult romantic and sexual relationships, and health psychology. Dr. Forssell also designs program evaluations for the Human Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and for private agencies including the National Minority AIDS Council and the AIDS Alliance.

Resources:

LGBT Health Policy & Practice Graduate Certificate Program at the George Washington University: https://lgbt.columbian.gwu.edu/

National LGBTQIA Health Education Center: https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/

Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/

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