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Training Death Investigators to Identify Decedents' Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: A Feasibility Study.

Blosnich JR, Butcher BA, Mortali MG, Lane AD, Haas AP. Training Death Investigators to Identify Decedents' Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: A Feasibility Study. The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology. 2022 Mar 1; 43(1):40-45.

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ABSTRACT: There is growing impetus within mortality surveillance to identify decedents'' sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), but key personnel to this effort (eg, death investigators) are not currently trained to collect SOGI information. To address this gap, we developed a training for death investigators on this topic and tested its feasibility with 114 investigators in 3 states. Participants completed pretraining and posttraining questionnaires that measured 4 perceived outcomes: training relevance, success of delivery, adequacy for future use, and likelihood of future use. Overall, strongly positive responses affirmed the training''s relevance, success of delivery, and adequacy for future use. Responses about attempting to identify the decedent''s SOGI in future cases were not quite as positive, with close to 80% of the participants saying that they were at least "somewhat likely" to collect this information. Despite design limitations, the study results support the feasibility of training death investigators to gather SOGI information. Although not systematically assessed in the study, investigators'' positive endorsement of training outcomes seemed higher in training sites where leadership strongly supported SOGI identification, suggesting that the role of leadership may be key to encouraging SOGI identification among death investigators.

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