By Joshua Guthals, June 18, 2013
Koko Jones is one of the Peer Health Navigators for “T-Talk,” a new study at CHEST that focuses on the health prevention needs of trans women in New York City. Our T-Talk Peer Health Navigators (or PHNs) are women who are leaders in the trans community. They will work with the participants of T-Talk to develop coping skills, and to achieve the goals of gaining access to professional medical care, social support, and other critical services.
This past weekend Koko attended Philadelphia’s Trans Health Conference (PTHC) alongside CHEST’s other PHNs, Savannah Hornback, Ida Hammer, and Vanessa Nasert. Koko explains: “This annual conference draws thousands of attendees. It’s a chance for a lot of people around the country to come together and discuss important issues affecting the trans community. Many of the people at the event this weekend were people I had met through online social networking over the years — and we were all finally in one place together to discuss these important issues face-to-face. People pointed out the many barriers that the trans community faces when seeking appropriate health services.” (For more information about the many presentations at PTHC, click this link.)
Koko continues: “At the Philadelphia event we led a very successful presentation about CHEST’s new study called T-Talk, which is led by trans women for trans women. This led to a very lively Q&A that brought to light the barriers to quality healthcare that trans women face, specifically trans women of color. Several women spoke up during the Q&A to say that they felt invisible inside of the larger LGBT community. Others said they felt there is not enough cultural competency among health-care providers. Women also expressed concern that there was a lack of employment opportunities for trans women which reduced their access to affordable health-care.”
Inset: CHEST’s PHNs discuss “T-Talk” at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, June, 15, 2013. Photo by Katrina Goodlett
What is CHEST’s new study about? “T-Talk is a peer-led intervention that was developed in response to the acute health prevention needs of our community of transgender women in New York City. The women participating in this study and intervention will attend sessions aimed at reducing sexual health risks, substance use, and internalized stigma and increase resilience,” said Koko. “The skills that our participants will be learning will help them develop self-motivated change as well as change negative thinking patterns that lead to unhealthy behaviors.”
The women participating in this study will be compensated for the first study visit and the follow up appointments. They will receive up to $205 for their time. To learn more about the T-Talk study, please call 212-206-7919, or log onto our website at http://chestnyc.org/T-Talk