Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Rottinghaus, Patrick


The American Medical Association's ethics code (2012) highlights trust, established through mutual respect, as the basis of patient-provider relationships. A lack of trust and respect between providers and non-heterosexual patients is suggested throughout healthcare literature. The study utilized a feminist-informed, needs assessment methodology to explore what women who partner sexually with other women need to feel comfortable with their provider. This methodology encouraged exploration, considered participants expert, and encouraged contribution from participants throughout the development of research. This project invited women to lend their voices at every phase of project development and implementation. The responses have provided greater understanding of what cues patients attend to in the healthcare setting, how important these needs are for encouraging comfort, and how often they occur in the healthcare setting. Overall, survey participants ranked the following items as most important for encouraging comfort: "Provider and staff demonstrate comfort with same-sex relationships," "Provider cares about patient as a person," and "Questions on intake forms use language that is inclusive of LGBTQ partnerships, polyamorous relationships, sexual behaviors, genders, and sexual orientations." These results provide significant understanding concerning what women want and are receiving in the healthcare setting. A trusting, respectful healthcare relationship can be created by listening to what women need to feel comfortable in disclosing same-gender sexual partnering.




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