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New state program expands transgender, LGBTQ care

Dulce Quintero is the first non-binary person to head the Department of Human Services as secretary designate.
Illinois Department of Human Services
Dulce Quintero is the first non-binary Illinois agency head

A new state initiative is designed to support and expand gender-affirming care.

The Transgender and Gender Diverse (TGD) Wellness and Equity Program will be coordinated by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago.

According to a press release, the initiative will expand comprehensive and medically necessary care for transgender, gender-diverse, and LGBTQ+ people throughout Illinois. This program equips organizations that currently serve LGBTQ+ communities to increase their capacity to provide culturally- and medically-competent gender-affirming care.

This care will address social determinants of health, historical and contemporary trauma, and their unique impact on Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color who identify as transgender, gender-diverse, and other LGBTQ+ identities.

Through a competitive grant process, organizations were identified including the Springfield arm of the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University, Central Illinois Friends in Peoria, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, the Douglas County Health Department in Tuscolam the Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ+ Center in Carbondale, Centerstone in West Frankfort and several Chicago programs.

Those organization s, through the TCD Wellness and Equity Program will provide services including training and behavioral health support, Employing Healthcare Navigation Specialists and Gender-affirming care training for staff, participation in a learning collaborative and strategies to expand participation in a learning collaborative and strategies to broaden gender-affirming care.

“We are so proud to play a role in this programming for our gender-diverse community. Together with our partners, such as PHIMC and these grant recipients, we will counter stigma and provide equitable access to healthcare,” said Dulce M. Quintero, IDHS Secretary The

Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) was chosen as the lead organization

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.