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Symposium at Penn aimed at improving healthcare for LGBTQ community

Symposium at University of Pennsylvania aimed at improving healthcare for LGBTQ community
Symposium at University of Pennsylvania aimed at improving healthcare for LGBTQ community 02:16

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --  People in the LGBTQ community face a number of obstacles in finding accessible and affordable healthcare – just getting a doctor can be challenging.

The group gathering this week at the University of Pennsylvania is coming up with some new ways to change that.

"I was assigned female at birth and growing up I always knew I was different," Aydian Dowling said. 

Dowling now proudly identifies as a transgender man and is working to help the LGBTQ community, which is facing discrimination and bullying that can cause serious mental health issues.


"Nobody wants to feel isolated. Everyone wants to feel loved," Dowling said.  

 Dowling created TRACE, a mobile application to support people who are transgender.

 "We are a mental health and peer-to-peer platform," Dowling said. 

 Dowling is part of Penn's first summer innovations institute that's addressing health disparities in the LGBTQ community.

"We also have some really amazing advocates who are saying, 'Hey, we have some creative ideas,'" Dr. José Bauermeister, the director of Penn's Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative, said. 

Dr. Bauermeister helped organize the weeklong workshop, finding new ways to improve health equity.


"Education is a big component. We still have a lot of folks who don't know where to go to get quality care. We have a lot of providers that have a lot of questions how to affirm their patients," Dr. Bauermeister said. 

They're brain-storming ways to educate medical providers about special needs in the LGBTQ community.

"You don't have to be transgender to treat a trans person, you just have to understand that we're also people and need help," Dowling said. 

The symposium is about bringing together new and creative ideas and business  o support a marginalized community that's facing new legislative threats in many states, which creates even more anxiety in the community.

"Get our minds to work together so we can help one another," Dowling said. 

Dowling is among a number of  emerging and established businesses participating in the workshops this week.

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