IDIBGI participates in a project to identify health inequalities among lesbians

Health and Environment

L-HEALTH is a European consortium that seeks to promote excellent clinical practice for all people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Thursday 26th April is Lesbian Awareness Day.

The Institute for Biomedical Research of Girona (IDIBGI) is participating in the L-HEALTH project, a European-wide initiative aimed at identifying the health inequalities suffered by lesbians in primary care services. The project is promoted by a consortium of five entities coordinated by the Primary Care Institute of Jordi Gol (IDIAPjGol) who met this week to launch the project.

The starting point of L-HEALTH is to build a database of lesbians attending primary care services, as this information is not collected in the documentary systems used to record the clinical information of the population. Subsequently, the health status of lesbians included in the database will be compared with a random sample of the general population. The second objective of the project is to find out about the lack of knowledge and attitudes of primary care professionals when caring for lesbian women.

The study uses a qualitative methodology to identify the specific health needs of lesbian women and the discrimination they have suffered in the health field. The research also aims to explore the stereotypes, attitudes and knowledge gaps of health professionals in caring for lesbian women.

Training programme

The conclusions of the study will be used to design a training programme for health professionals that raises awareness and knowledge about lesbian health and promotes excellent clinical practice for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.

L-HEALTH is a project funded by the European Union’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme. With a budget of around 420,000 euros, it will be launched in December 2023 and will last for two years. Its coordinators are the researchers Anna Ponjoan (IDIBGI- IDIAPJGol) and Constanza Jacques (IDIAPJGol).

Structural masculinity

Dr. Ponjoan, a researcher in the Vascular Health group at IDIBGI and IDIAPJGol, reports that ‘lesbians have traditionally been invisible, both in clinical practice and in research, mainly due to structural masculinity and lesbophobia’. In this sense, L-HEALTH ‘aims to contribute to reducing stigma and discrimination, still present in primary care teams, where the heteronormativity of patients is assumed’.

The L-HEALTH consortium, coordinated by IDIAPJGol, is also made up of IDIBGI and the Barcelona Public Health Agency (APSB), the Spanish NGO SIDA Studi, dedicated to the promotion of sexual health, and the intersectional lesbian and feminist network EL*C, which includes research centres, non-profit organisations and lesbian associations.

Kick off

The project started with a first face-to-face meeting that took place at the IDIAPJGol headquarters on Monday 22 April. This meeting coincided with Lesbian Awareness Week, which will culminate on 26 April with the celebration of Lesbian Awareness Day.

During this first meeting, the five members presented the objectives of the project and established the scope and planning.

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