Stefanie Best

Stefanie Best

Stefanie A. Best, M.A., is an instructor and doctoral candidate in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. She is a member of the coordinating committee for Bi Local and has recently joined the Board of Directors for Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Ohio’s only LGBTQ youth center.

Presentation: Addressing Bisexual Health Disparities: A Bi Local and Equitas Health Conversation

Day: Friday
Time: Breakout Session 2
Where: Highland

Presentation Description:
While all communities under the LGBTQ umbrella experience particular social, legal, and health challenges, bisexual and non-monosexual populations face health disparities at a greater rate than gay men and lesbians. Bisexuals face uniquely increased risks for drug abuse, mental health issues, and intimate partner violence, among others. Data from the SafePoint needle exchange program, operated by Equitas Health, indicate that over 7% of the program’s participants identify as bisexual. This data provide unique insight into the effects of the current opioid crisis in central Ohio on the LGBTQ population and on bisexuals, in particular. This intersection provides a meaningful starting point for fostering education and discussion about the health disparities faced by the bisexual population.

In this presentation the presenters will first briefly describe the unique health disparities faced by bisexuals, including the increased risk of drug abuse and contributing factors such as social and mental health pressures. We will also describe the SafePoint needle exchange program and elaborate on demographic data on participants in the program, including bisexual participants. In the latter half of the presentation we will facilitate a guided discussion with participants about how healthcare professionals, service providers, social workers, advocates, and others can begin to create inclusivity for bisexuals and account for the combination of factors that drive bisexual health disparities. At the end of the presentation presenters and participants will create a list of tangible goals for addressing bisexual-specific health disparities in their practices and communities.

Objectives:
1. Participants will learn about fundamental health disparities facing the bi+ population and factors contributing to those disparities.
2. Participants will learn about the SafePoint needle exchange program, including demographics related to bisexual participants in the program.
3. Participants will generate tangible goals for addressing bisexual-specific health disparities in healthcare practices and community services.