*WHY does this matter?
*WHY should I participate?
*WHAT does it mean?
Transform Health Arkansas means providers, researchers and community members on equal footing, working together. Providers and researchers get to learn more about the issues central to the transgender community, while transgender and non-binary individuals get to turn their knowledge into research and into valuable data. The landmark Injustice in Every Turn survey showed about half of transgender people had to educate their providers about their health care. The knowledge of transgender people isn’t just desired in this research, it’s necessary!!!!
Data is important! The amount of data available on the transgender health has grown significantly in recent years, bringing in some states advancements in improved care, improved services, removal of health care exclusions and better health care outcomes. There is limited if any data available on the transgender community in Arkansas, and this is one way to change that trend and potentially have impact on the future.
You don’t have to have a research background to be involved. It’s so important that anyone and everyone who wants to take part in this project has an opportunity to do so, in order for the research to truly reflect what is important to the community. Your stories, your experiences are your own and belong to no one else, so the best way to ensure that your words are expressed is to participate. By participating, you can say you’ve taken part in research. Through volunteering and engaging with the project further, there are opportunities to learn valuable skills, which can further your own interests or job opportunities.
This is most likely unlike any research you’ve taken part in before. There’s no survey being sent by a mystery person asking you a bunch of invasive questions in return for a chance to win an IPad, then when the research is done, you never hear of the results. Participants in TRANSform Health Arkansas can be as involved as they want, following the progress of the research from beginning to the end and helping guide the research forward to future studies. This is an empowering opportunity, one which is driven by the transgender and non-binary community with the support of providers and researchers.
This is an opportunity Arkansans cannot miss, and depending on the outcome of this project, may not come again. It is very rare for a transgender community in the South to be recipients of a respected award with a 16% acceptance rate. This is an opportunity that shouldn’t just be attractive to transgender and non-binary persons, but also to providers and researchers, who also don’t often see this happen. When people come together for a common goal, such as this research, other collaborations and exchanges of knowledge are bound to occur. Therefore, this research is a chance for Arkansas to get to know the transgender community, know our stories, know our lives and know our challenges, and plant those seeds of hope and watch them grow in new and exciting ways. This can directly and indirectly improve the lives of the community.
TRANSFORM Health Arkansas is funded through a Pipeline to Proposal Award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (also known as PCORI). Patient and stakeholder engagement and research that is patient-centered and focused on outcomes that matter most to those affected are key principles PCORI uses to decide what they will fund. PCORI’s Executive Director, Joe Selby, makes this point in a short film clip.