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The Center Project Offers Training Course to Healthcare Professionals

The Center Project, mid-Missouri's only LGBTQ+ community ally center, is partnering with Burrell Behavioral Health to offer a virtual training session to healthcare professionals Friday.

The program geared towards healthcare professionals will focus on how to provide gender-affirming care for trans and non-binary patients.

Kerri Schafer is a board member at The Center Project and is a licensed psychologist who will speak at the training. She said educating healthcare professionals is important in order to make equal and accessible healthcare possible for the trans and non-binary community.

“I hope that trainings like this one will make it so that no one has to worry about being turned away for health care because of doctors not feeling informed or confident to do trans health care,” Schafer said. “That's my hope – that we can at least remove that one barrier.”

Burrell Behavioral Health is a facility that offers a variety of mental health services and educational programs to individuals of all ages. The training session on providing gender-affirming care for trans and non-binary patients is an event under “Benchmarks for Burrell,” a monthly professional opportunity Burrell offers to staff, professionals and community members.

Shelly Farnan is the vice president of the Be Well Community movement for Burrell and a licensed psychologist who will be attending the training session.

She said discussing the importance of providing gender-affirming care helps reduce health disparities, which can save trans and non-binary lives.

“Gender affirming care is saying, I see you as the human, I value you as a human, and we are going to provide to you life-saving care,” Farnan said. “So you are honoring the person and their gender identity, rather than missing their gender identity based on sex characteristics.”

The secretary and volunteer educator of The Center Project’s BRITE training program, Tracy Davis, said that she knows there are healthcare providers who want to provide an inclusive environment, they just might not know how to.

“Everyone's unique, but a common question I get is, ‘Who's a doctor I can see who is affirming,’ you know, ‘Who is an inclusive psychologist that I could go and see,’” Davis said. “And I am hesitant at times to recommend people because… they don't want to turn away [patients] and they support trans people.”

Davis also said The Center Project believes inclusivity training begins with raising awareness and having a greater understanding of people. And that these two acts create empathy that leads to building an inclusive community.

The Center Project and Burrell’s training session is on Friday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is open to the public but geared towards healthcare providers. For more information on other LGBTQ+ allyship trainings, visit thecenterproject.org.