Communicating With The LGBTQ+ Patient: A Training Module For Medical Practitioners

BISC Partners, in collaboration with DemLab, conducted the second part of the Gender Inclusive Medical Services Training for Doctors, funded by IWPR.

The second phase of an IWPR-supported project aimed at increasing access to and raising awareness of gender-inclusive health services using behavioral science approaches has been implemented in collaboration with the Behavior Analysis, Strategy and Communications Team (BISC Partners) and the Democracy Lab (DemLab). Within the framework of the second stage of the project, the project area has been expanded to cover additional regions. Up to 100 doctors have been trained, a trainers’ module has been developed, and a protocol for integrating gender-inclusive approaches into the service chain has been established.

The primary objective of the initiative was to reduce the harmful impacts of discrimination and gender stereotypes while enhancing access to inclusive services. This was pursued through the development and piloting of a behavior change model among medical practitioners.

The first phase of the project was initially executed in 2023, and its duration has been extended this year in response to heightened demand from clinics and medical staff. A study conducted by BISC Partners has unveiled a demand in understanding methods of  the establishment trusting and empathetic relationships with patients. This aspect becomes particularly crucial in the context of sexual minorities, and notably transgender patients, given the novelty of the issue and the scarcity of knowledge and information regarding the issue.

During the training module, participants are introduced to the service protocol, aimed at enhancing doctors’ ability to effectively manage patient relationships, pose appropriate and ethical inquiries, and adopt best practices utilizing modern approaches. This training is also practical for non-medical personnel of  administrative, quality management, and patient relations roles.

The development of the training module followed a behavioral insights study conducted by BISC Partners in 2022 titled “Structural, Psychological, and Social Barriers to Communication with LGBTQ+ Patients.” The research encompassed both medical staff and community representatives.

Given the studied behavior and context, interventions were  developed that focus on the root causes of the problem and overcome barriers to target behavior or encourage motivators.

Studies indicate a significant interest among doctors in topics such as:

  • Attributes of trust in the environment 
  • Initiate a conversation with the patient about gender-sensitive issues necessary for medical purposes 
  • Identify ethical and unethical questions
  • Overview of the legal framework governing gender issues in Georgia
  • Medical risks associated with sexual minorities and their management, with a particular focus on transgender patients

The development of the training module involved participation from experts in behavioral science and public health.

In the previous year, approximately 50 medical specialists participated in the training sessions. By January 2024, around 80 individuals successfully completed the two-day training held in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi.

The initiative was carried out with the support of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) of the United Kingdom.


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