Finding Pride in Rural Healthcare

In a world where LGBTQ+ healthcare can be a struggle, especially in rural areas, Dr. Anthony Carney stands as a beacon of hope. This dedicated nurse practitioner provides affirming primary care for LGBTQ+ patients in a small town clinic at the University of Kentucky. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Carney on the Life Support Podcast, and his insights are a must-read for anyone passionate about inclusive healthcare.

Following a Passion to Provide Care

Dr. Carney’s journey to becoming an affirming care provider wasn’t a straight line. It all began with his desire to focus on LGBTQ+ health during his graduate studies. This passion led him to connect with mentors and clinics that specialized in this area. Eventually, his skills and dedication landed him a position at a small-town clinic, allowing him to bring much-needed affirming care directly to a rural community.

What Makes Care Affirming?

But what exactly does affirming care look like? Dr. Carney explains it as recognizing and addressing the unique needs of LGBTQ+ patients. This can range from creating a welcoming and safe environment to using the correct pronouns and offering comprehensive sexual health screenings. Additionally, affirming care provides mental health services specifically tailored to those transitioning genders.

Challenges and Triumphs in Rural Communities

Dr. Carney sheds light on the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in rural areas. Limited access to affirming services and a constant fear for safety are just a few of the hurdles they encounter. However, Dr. Carney highlights the power of word-of-mouth referrals. By creating a safe space and providing exceptional care, his clinic has attracted patients through positive experiences shared within the community.

Learning Beyond Textbooks

Dr. Carney emphasizes the importance of real-world experience when providing affirming care. Textbooks offer valuable knowledge, but it’s the lived experiences of patients that truly shape a provider’s understanding. Dr. Carney stresses the need to be aware of the social determinants of health and the impact of violence on LGBTQ+ individuals. This allows him to provide holistic care that addresses not just medical issues, but also the social factors that influence well-being.

Making Affirming Care a Reality for All

The interview concludes with Dr. Carney offering valuable advice for healthcare providers who want to create more inclusive environments. He encourages them to:

  • Seek additional training on LGBTQ+ health
  • Utilize online resources
  • Prioritize creating a safe space for patients to express themselves freely

A Brighter Future for LGBTQ+ Healthcare

Dr. Carney’s vision for the future of LGBTQ+ care is one filled with hope. He dreams of a world where more healthcare providers are trained to offer affirming care, LGBTQ+ health topics are a standard part of medical education, and barriers to healthcare access for LGBTQ+ patients are broken down.

Dr. Carney’s dedication and passion are truly inspiring. By sharing his story and insights, he empowers others to advocate for change and create a healthcare system that welcomes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Let’s continue this conversation and work towards a future where LGBTQ+ healthcare thrives in all communities, big and small.

Life Support Podcast: Gender Affirming Practices in Rural Areas

Elise Winbrock joins Rachel Blanton in a talk with Dr. Anthony about his motivation for practicing LGBTQ+ affirming care in a small town, the importance of affirming care for individuals, and how to create LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare spaces.

Anthony LeonFinding Pride in Rural Healthcare
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