INFLUENZA VACCINATION AMONG LGBTT COMMUNITIES

spanish tobacco

 

 

Juan Carlos Vega, Citizens Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico & LGBT HealthLink: the Network for Health Equity

 

 

Are LGBTT communities getting vaccinated against influenza? If you do a search on Google for “LGBT” and “vaccination”, most results refer to current important efforts towards Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. A few influenza vaccination campaigns targeting LGBTT communities appear scattered in the last two decades. A fabulous one occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The health events section in the Wisconsin GLBT History Project website reports that, “Flu Vaccination shots began to be offered annually to members of the LGBT community in approximately 1990, by the Gay and Lesbian Nurses Association. The effort was begun to target the especially at-risk population of the gay and lesbian community after the AIDS outbreak… For its first 16 years the vaccinations were given in the upstairs at the M&M Club, thanks to Bob Schmidt’s generosity. When the M&M Club closed early in 2006, the Nurses Association began the search for a new location for its 17th year.”

Of all the health problems LGBTT communities, why do we need to worry about influenza? Don’t we have more pressing matters like HIV increase, high smoking prevalence, and rejection to proper services due to stigma and discrimination, etcetera, etcetera? My knowledge on influenza and vaccination is limited but I compare the facts presented during the 3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico on April 4, 2014. According to the most recent statistics from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), some of the most significant risk factors and health conditions prevalent among LGBTT communities in Puerto Rico are obesity and overweight (53.5%), tobacco use (23.8%), asthma (22.2%), and diabetes (13.1%). Later, in May 2014, the current Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, in alert, due to the increase on reported influenza cases, continued to encourage individuals with chronic diseases like obesity, asthma, and diabetes to get vaccinated. The high prevalence of HIV reported cases among LGBTT communities in Puerto Rico are certainly vulnerable as well to the flu.

It is a no brainer that LGBTT communities are at high risk and should get vaccinated. But then again, are LGBTT communities getting vaccinated? Are there any influenza vaccination efforts in our communities like the one by the Gay and Lesbian Nurses Association in Milwaukee in the 90’s happening today or in summer pride events? The CDC-funded National Influenza Vaccination Disparities Partnership reports that large metropolitan areas like Chicago, Latino-based Casa Ruby in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center are offering vaccination clinics and prevention services to LGBTT communities. Anybody else? Anyone has strategies and recommendations to implement influenza vaccination programs and services among LGBTT communities?

 

Through collaborations with the CDC-funded National Influenza Vaccination Disparities Partnership, the Vaccination Coalition of Puerto Rico (VOCES), and the School of Nursing at the University of Puerto Rico , the Citizens Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health was able to provide flu vaccines and education to Summit participants.

Through collaborations with the CDC-funded National Influenza Vaccination Disparities Partnership, the Vaccination Coalition of Puerto Rico (VOCES), and the School of Nursing at the University of Puerto Rico , the Citizens Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health was able to provide flu vaccines and education to Summit participants.

Benson & Hedges Targets LGBTT Communities in Puerto Rico

Juan Carlos Photo

 

Juan Carlos Vega, MLS

Blogging for the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico, National Latino Alliance Pro Health Equity and the Network for LGBT Health Equity

 

 

This is bad! As health professionals, community prevention programs, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health strive to reduce tobacco use prevalence among island inhabitants, we have busted Benson & Hedges, twice, targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transexual (LGBTT) communities in San Juan area’s LGBTT clubs. Cute girls, in tight outfits, look to scan your driver’s license in order to continue to help folks initiate or facilitate access to low price cigarettes. If you fill out the survey that they present at these bars and allow them to scan your id, you can purchase a pack of Benson & Hedges from the bar at a huge discount. No wonder LGBTT smoking prevalence is two to three times higher than that of the general population.

Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills

Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills

Twice, I have been with gay guys who are trying to quit smoking for health and financial reasons and they have been accosted by such tobacco industry tactics. One time, we bought the cigarettes, the second time we resisted. Yes, I was included. After nine years of being smoke free, I have become an occasional social smoker for the past 3-4 years. It is so nasty, the smoke inhalation, the after taste, yet, after a few drinks, I see myself taking a “hit” or two from my friends’ cigarettes. I don’t blame the industry for my personal unhealthy choices, but they sure don’t help us quit for good!  Access to cheap smokes at bars should not be allowed! 

Last weekend, was the second consecutive month, we have seen this predatory practice in our local LGBTT bars. It was contrasting to see as we were distributing promotional flyers for the  3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico, April 4th and 5th at the School of Nursing of the Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, free of cost for the general public and $45.00 fee for Continuing Education for Physicians and Nurses. Against the luring of the tobacco industry to get us to smoke again, the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTT Healthefforts continue to fight the dangers of tobacco use with the support ofLegacy Foundation, the Network for LGBT Health Equity, theComprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Puerto Rico, and the local tobacco free coalition. For more information, on how tobacco affects the health of LGBTT communities, come to the 3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico: Tendencies Towards Health EquityApril 4th and 5th in San Juan. Come by, our Summit is cheaper than the pack of cigarettes sold those nights and you will get great information, make new friends and learn how to take better care of yourselves!

spanish tobacco

Juan Carlos Vega shows a tobacco cessation material in Spanish “Tobacco is a murderer that does not discriminate”

APPLY NOW FOR NETWORK STEERING COMMITTEE POSITIONS!

 
 
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
 The time has come: Apply to be a part of our dynamic Steering Committee!
Applications due by April 30th, 2014
 
 
 

 

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is now accepting applications to fill four positions on its 13 member Steering Committee!

The purpose of the committee is to provide multidisciplinary input and guidance on activities for the Network. Members will participate by sharing information regarding tobacco and other LGBT health disparity opportunities, providing input on National Network efforts, and considering strategic policy enhancements that further LGBT health disparity work at their organizations.

Responsibilities:

  •  Attend regularly scheduled phone meetings (generally once or twice a month maximum)
  • Attend one in-person meetings per year (paid for by the Network)
  • Review and give feedback on policy, direction, and strategic planning of Network Activities
  • Strategize effective ways to increase Network visibility, organizational outreach, and membership
  • Identify and increase the engagement of subgroups within the LGBT community (i.e., youth, rural, elder, etc)
  • Support and enhance the goals and objectives of the Network in a changing environment
  • Engage agency/coalition groups on pertinent issues/opportunities and report back to the Committee

If you are interested in applying for the committee, the following is required (please send CV/Resume and Statement of Interest to healthequity@lgbtcenters.org):IDAHOT-605x305

The Youth/Young Adult Nomination process is slightly different. 

If you are  between 18-24 years old and would like to apply to be on the committee, click here to fill out the Youth/Young Adult Steering Committee Application form online. Youth/young adults can also apply through the general nominations process (candidacy will not be affected by either application) and follow the same guidelines by submitting the following:

All Nominations must be submitted on or before Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 by 4PM EST

To: healthequity@lgbtcenters.org Subject: Steering Committee Nomination

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 working days of your email nomination. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 2 working days, please resend and call 954.765.6024 to ensure delivery. If you are submitting a nomination on the due date and have not received a confirmation by 4:30PM EST please call 954.765.6024 before 5PM EST to confirm delivery. Nominations received after 04/30/2014 at 4PM EST will not be accepted.
We look forward to reviewing your applications. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!
 
Thank you,
Network Steering Committee and Staff

Strategic Planning and Expanding Priorities

By: Meredith Kamradt
Guest Blogger
Reporting from: The 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit (Kansas City, MO)

Attending my first LGBT Healthy Equity Summit today was incredibly inspirational, thought-provoking, and also tiring.  Who knew that sitting for 8+ hours could be so exhausting!?  My hands were sore from jotting down notes and clapping, and my cheeks felt stretched from smiling.

Of course it was all worth it!  I heard so many stories of successful advocacy efforts – especially those states and localities working to institutionalize LGBT data collection efforts.  I even met colleagues in Puerto Rico working entirely without funding, yet who have managed to make farther strides in data collection and tobacco abolition than many of us with far more funding and person-power.  Before taking part in all of these discussions, however, we had the opportunity to hear about the future of the Network from the Chair of the Steering Committee, William Furmanski.

He didn’t bore us, and I won’t bore you either, because I certainly know that strategic planning and logic models can put the best of us asleep.  Overall, William explained that the Network is looking to expand their goals outside of LGBT tobacco control to include general healthy active living.  This reflects a shift in the broader world of public health, and it is necessary to keep up with these changes, as well as to simply continue to serve our LGBT communities in all of the important health issues.

As more and more inclusive data collection practices build the evidence of more widespread health disparities, I feel that the strategic planning of the Network will certainly pay off.  It also excites me to think of the potential for collaboration between any number of health organizations, both LGBT-specific and not, who work on topics like access to fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy communities, and primary prevention of chronic disease.  With such growth in the future, I’ll have another important reason to continue to return to the Summit, and hopefully so will many others!

Tomorrow I’ll be at the first day of the National Conference on Tobacco or Health, and I’ll continue to write about  my experiences at the LGBT Health Equity Summit, as well as sessions from the National Conference that are pertinent to this blog, for the next few days.  And of course, I cannot thank the Network for LGBT Health Equity enough for the scholarship that allowed me to attend today’s summit!

March Updates from the Network

March has been yet another busy month for the Network. We are pleased to announce the launch of two major projects from the Network. First, Joseph Lee of our Steering Committee is helping us launch MPOWERED best and promising 

practices review, an effort to collect lessons learned in the field of LGBT Tobacco Control. The final document will be launched at our Summit, the 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit, in Kansas City this August. Second, at long last the Network is pleased to announce the launch of our new website www.lgbthealthequity.org. Although we are still working on the last small details, we are very pleased to have this new resource up and running for the field.

Our staff was active this month in a few different events. First, Scout attended the FDA Research Summit. At it we got one win from a prior action alert – FDA agreed to collect at least LGB (not yet T) data on their new historic NIH tobacco research project. He recaps the important aspects of the summit here: FDA Tobacco Research Meeting – Upshot & Action Needed Now!

Pakou, Sarah, and Ditra giving us the inside line

He also attended the TAPP-INTO convening of state disparity networks in Minnesota (we have a long term contract to provide tech assist to these networks). See one of the key lessons from their sustainability training here: What do funders want? Gustavo was also out training, he presented on making practices welcoming to LGBT patients at the first ever Sharing Best Practices in GLBT Health training sponsored by the Sylvie Ratelle Prevention and Training Center of Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Most recently, staff attended the FDA Tobacco Policy Center disparities listening session hosted by our friends at Legacy, with the sister tobacco control networks and partners across the country. The next day, Legacy convened the disparity groups to strategize together. Watch to see us roll out more coordinated menthol advocacy in the near future, and read about the other policy priorities here: Disparity Networks Plus.

There have been some major events this month that the Network has been promoting. First, partnering with our friends at Shift MN, we celebrated Kick Butts Day. We had two great posts from MN Youth from Shift MN showcased posts on our blog; Dangerous Swagger and Breathe… Standing Up Against Corporate Tobacco. The Network has also helped promote the Coalition’s Health Awareness Week. Most notably, we have helped spread the news on two major tobacco events: the rollout of the first national tobacco education campaign and the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on youth smoking. Also this month, the Network campaigned to help one of our bloggers, e.shor, run for and ultimately win a scholarship to Netroots Nation. The network also highlighted some world tobacco news, as Brazil announced the ban of flavored cigarettes including menthol. According to a report from the National LGBTQ Youth Adult Tobacco Project, 71%33.9% of current smokers smoke menthols and an astonishing 82.6% of African American smokers smoke menthols. In addition, a disproportionate number of Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and multiracial smokers smoke menthols compared to white smokers.
of LGBT youth who smoke cigarettes smoke mentholated cigarettes. If FDA stepped up and also banned menthol in the U.S. it is likely the single most important action that could be taken to deter youth smoking. Also, we continue to highlight local projects, like this one on David Mariner’s tobacco and HIV project, and provide policy insight on our blog, like with our post on LGBT funding announcements and our heads up on things we expect to see soon from HHS.

We are very pleased to report that one of the requests we made with our Puerto Rico allies in January’s Department of Justice meetings has already come about, FBI and DOJ officials have been deployed to Puerto Rico to conduct additional listening sessions with community members with a promise of official trainings to follow. Read more about it here.

In other notes, we also got the news our PCORI application submitted a few months ago did not get funded and we are currently seeking nominations for two new Steering Committee members. Also catch our nice rundown of last year’s accomplishments here: Highlights of Network Accomplishments Over Past Year.

Finally, you know we blog a lot, and perhaps you’ve noticed we’re also trying to get more media attention to LGBT tobacco and wellness issues. We’re happy to announce a great outgrowth of both of those efforts; Scout has become an official Huffington Post blogger! Read his first two pieces New ‘Additional Feature’ for Health Insurance Finder: Same-Sex Coverage & White House Creates a Watershed Moment for LGBT Health and be sure to watch for more.

How we monitor the tobacco epidemic in LGBT communities – seeking stories

By Joseph Lee
Steering Committee Member
Monitoring Tobacco in LGBT Communities

Hi, I’m Joseph Lee, and I’m a member of the Network’s Steering Committee, and I’m representing the Network’s effort to better collect (and share) wisdom from the community.

This week, I’m asking for your help identifying projectslessons learned, and stories from your work on collecting information to document and track the tobacco epidemic in our communities.

You can see an overview of our process.

We’re seeking your stories about how this has worked for you, what worked, what you learned, and what other states and organizations should know.

We have some of this information in our resources page, but I’m certain we’re missing things.

I know about projects in/by: Baton Rouge, CA state surveys, ID, MO, National Transgender Survey, NC, NM, NY, Ohio focus groups, Oregon Pride, Portland, NYAC youth survey, Toronto, VA transgender assessment, and WV.  (Tracking industry marketing and products is a different week.)

If you have or know about* a project collecting data, surveying the community, or working on state health surveys that’s not on that list, please let me know.

Please submit stories, details, resources, etc. on this subject or e-mail them to: lgbtmpowered@gmail.com.  Or just let us know that so-and-so knows details and we’ll follow up with them.  Or check out our handy data collection page and click through it.

PS: On Friday, we will be giving out prizes to a random selection of people who’ve provided us with stories and resources by Thursday afternoon.

* Also let us know if you know someone who knows someone who might know about something related to…

PopCtr Mtg: Panel Discussion on Probability and Non-Probability Methods

Scoutby Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA

SCIENCEBABBLE ALERT – This is a meeting for scientists, despite my efforts, some of this may get technical.

411 on the issue

Probability sampling = getting a group of people for your research that is statistically proven to be a random selection from the full population of interest, thus the statistics support you being able to draw conclusions for the full population based on the info from this random subgroup. (Like if 50% of your probability sample of LGBT people parachute, you can confidently say 50% of all LGBT people parachute.)

Non-probability sampling = any non-random sample of people. (Like if you do a survey at pride, it’s a non-probability sample.) Unfortunately, the statistics then do not support being able to generalize these findings to the full population, because there’s a chance bias might have snuck in. (Like, maybe pride participants aren’t as closeted as other LGBT people, so even if 50% of your sample are in LGBT parachuting clubs, you can’t say 50% of all LGBT people are in such clubs.)

Why’s this a big issue? Probability sample data is the gold-standard for drawing conclusions, but we have much less of this for LGBT people, mostly because LGBT measures aren’t included on the monster federal surveys that are the big probability studies.

Panel Members:

  • Dan Kasprzyk, Ph.D. Vice President of NORC (which I realize is so well known as one of 2 fanciest survey shops that his bio doesn’t even say what NORC stands for… so just know, NORC=surveys)
  • Melissa Clark, Ph.D. Brown University Department of Community Health
  • Margaret Rosario, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey Parsons, PhD. Hunter University

The Panel

Dr. Kasprzyk led the panel off talking about some of his interesting experiences as part of the Institute of Medicine committee for the recent LGBT report. He emphasized that the choice of probability or non-probability might really not be as important as the reporting and impact of any well-designed study, regardless of the methods chosen. Then he moves onto talking about the federal surveys. “If the federal gov’t added LGBT measures to the American Community Survey, then allowed oversampling, that alone would allow the community to target populations, whether it’s regional, city, rural, you name it, and we’d be much better off. But we have to go beyond NHANES, you have to get on other surveys, NHIS and especially the Labor Force Survey would be very valuable.” He emphasized how important it was to get measures on these large full-probability surveys, “because otherwise you remain invisible.”

“Probability data is very important, it is the gold standard, in Washington, that’s what people are going to listen to. I think the real advancement in healthcare policy comes from really pushing hard with the federal government to have these questions on those surveys, and that point cannot be diminished. I think it’s really important that we actually stay focused on the federal government and become part of that health policy debate.” Dr. Kasprzyk

Dr. Clark followed (that’s Melissa to you and me) and led off by echoing all of Dr. Kasprzyk’s points. She says “”That’s usually how I end every talk I give about sexual minorities, I say ‘please help us get these questions added.'” She talked about her experience at Brown University and how much she’s been working to try to get the non-LGBT researchers to include LGBT measures. Through this effort, she’s managed to take one of the IOM report recommendations and institutionalize it, “Now when there’s a new study, people have to either include sexual minorities or explain why they are not.” Kudos to Melissa, let’s hope NIH follows suit!

Next up was Margaret Rosario. She warns us that while probability samples are important, most of our real explanatory data will come from non-probability samples because they are so much cheaper they have more latitude to go much deeper into issues, explore causal models, etc. For her, the bottom line is either approach can be useful, it’s often an issue of cost, if we have the chance to do the higher costs full-probability samples, excellent, if not, let’s just do excellent non-probability studies. Lastly she also weighs in on the importance of getting LGBT measures on the large surveys, “For the probability studies, please please, whatever we can do to get questions on there, do be able to identify the population as best we can, we should definitely do that.”

The panel was rounded out by Jeff Parsons. He talked about how it always seems there’s a flavor of the day at NIH for the newest rage for sampling, some of which are just never really viable in the field. “You can’t just count every 9th person who goes in the bar and pull them for the study, it doesn’t work.” Tonda Hughes from UIC echoes that sentiment, noting that the popular method, Respondent Driven Sampling, has never worked for her in samples of women.

As the discussion opens up to audience comments, there’s an interesting suggestion from Jim McNally, a director at ICPSR (the Intra-university Consortium of Political and Social Research, probably the largest data library in the country). one of the University of Michigan (ICPSR) scientists… “We recommend people work to create a small strong full probability sample and then ask the same questions you have on the federal surveys. That way you have policy strength to compare to the federal questions.”