Follow up from Fusion’s November 2021 Story
Queer individuals in the greater Akron area reflected on their community needs through a recent survey launch. Although the survey is now closed, the next phase of the project will entail further community involvement.
The Greater Akron LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment is led by Andrew Snyder, a Kent State University professor in the College of Public Health. This two year project was launched in January 2021 and will conclude in December 2022.
“Our main objective with the project is to emphasize that LGBTQ+ health is important in public health,” Synder states. “Another portion is to gauge the demographics of the LGBTQ+ community in the greater Akron area.”
The first phase of the project, the LGBTQ+ community assessment, ran virtually from June 2021 to December 2021. LGBTQ+ individuals from Summit, Stark, Portage and Medina County were encouraged to participate in the initial survey.
“This is the first time an LGBTQ+ specific needs assessment has been done in Ohio that we are aware of,” Snyder says. “Not to say that research hasn’t been conducted, but never has a community come together to comprehensively investigate the LGBTQ+ community’s health.”
The assessment asked a diverse range of questions. Some of the main topics included physical health, wellness, religion, spirituality, education, literacy, housing, food, nutrition, business, employment, commerce, safety, law enforcement, recreation and leisure.
In total, Snyder received 1,266 unique results from a diverse group of individuals. 72 percent of participants identified as LGBTQ+; the rest identified as allies. The three largest LGBTQ+ groups who participated in the survey identified as gay, bisexual, and lesbian.
According to the results, the assessment also captured a diverse age range, with the youngest individual being 12 years old and the oldest individual being 88 years old. Overall, the assessment covered a wide variety of identities in its results.
The next phase of the project will include various focus groups to further gauge qualitative information. These identity-and issue-based focus groups will occur in the next few months.