Four community organizations spread across the nation are working together to create the research advisory network Four Corners. The initiative’s goal is to produce data that’s essential to meet the health needs of the transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) community.

Led by Howard Brown Health in Chicago, the network also includes Houston-based Legacy Community Health, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC. Together, the four organizations serve over 10,000 TGNC-identified people, according to a press release from Howard Brown Health.

The full name of the research initiative is Four Corners: TGNC Health Research Advisory Network.

“Four Corners will establish a new standard in transgender research by including community voices from the start,” said Andie Baker, vice president of Howard Brown Health’s Center for Education, Research, and Advocacy, in the press release. “The ground-breaking partnership will ensure new research addresses what TGNC people need to make healthcare more relevant to their lived experience. This is urgently needed, as the TGNC community experiences disproportionate health disparities.”

TGNC people often fear being mistreated and discriminated against in health care settings, according to 2015 survey data, which leads many to skip health care altogether. Transgender women, in particular, face higher rates of HIV compared with other population groups. A paper published in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 18.8 percent of trans women and 2 percent of trans men are living with HIV.

“With the goal of improving health and wellness outcomes for all who identify on the gender spectrum, this research collaboration will establish foundational standards for methods, recruitment and protocols when conducting transgender and non-binary-focused health studies. We are excited by the opportunity for our patients to develop research priorities as we work to better understand the health needs of transgender and non-binary communities,” added Deborah Goldstein, director of clinical research and evaluation at Whitman-Walker Health, in the press release.

To learn more about the intersection of HIV and transgender health, click #Transgender. And to read more about that CDC research, click here.