Community Engagement in Research and Design of a Transgender Health Information Resource

Appl Clin Inform. 2023 Mar;14(2):263-272. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1763290. Epub 2023 Apr 5.


Background: Access to credible and relevant health care information is an unmet need for the transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) community. This paper describes the community engagement methods and resulting community priorities as part of a codesign process for the development of a Transgender Health Information Resource (TGHIR) application.

Methods: A lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer advocacy organization and an academic health sciences team partnered to establish a community advisory board (CAB) of TGD individuals, parents of TGD individuals, and clinicians with expertise in transgender health to inform the project. The analytic-deliberative model and group facilitation strategies based on Liberating Structures guided procedures. Affinity grouping was used to synthesize insights from CAB meeting notes regarding roles and perspectives on the design of the TGHIR application. We used the Patient Engagement in Research Scale (PEIRS) to evaluate CAB members' experience with the project.

Results: The CAB emphasized the importance of designing the application with and for the TGD community, including prioritizing intersectionality and diversity. CAB engagement processes benefited from setting clear expectations, staying focused on goals, synchronous and asynchronous work, and appreciating CAB member expertise. TGHIR application scope and priorities included a single source to access relevant, credible health information, the ability to use the app discreetly, and preserving privacy (i.e., safe use). An out-of-scope CAB need was the ability to identify both culturally and clinically competent TGD health care providers. PEIRS results showed CAB members experienced moderate to high levels of meaningful engagement (M[standard deviation] = 84.7[12] out of 100).

Conclusion: A CAB model was useful for informing TGHIR application priority features. In-person and virtual methods were useful for engagement. The CAB continues to be engaged in application development, dissemination, and evaluation. The TGHIR application may complement, but will not replace, the need for both culturally and clinically competent health care for TGD people.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Transgender Persons*