Conferences

It’s about the facts… Black and White really tells the story!


By Gustavo Torrez

Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

OK OK I know what you are thinking, Really !?! what are you talking about Gustavo…

Well, I attended a panel discussion today titled Prevention and Public Health with the following individuals:

» Jeff Levi, Executive Director, Trust for America’s Health

» Nevena Minor, Legislative Affairs Manager, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

» Dr. Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health

The session focused on the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we know prevention and public health initiatives are moving into center stage in the efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system and to improve the health and well being of communities throughout the country. So this session focused on some of the major prevention and public health provisions of the ACA, and a major gain was how the act established a $15 billion prevention and public health fund. More importantly this act provides the ability to collect better data, this is a direct benefit of the law and will definitely include disparity groups with the hopes of inclusion of LGBT communities. Although it’s not clear in the law, there is work in being done ensure inclusion. If you followed this bill you know that the House bill that was passed was inclusive of LGBTs, but the Senate bill, which ended up being the final approved bill was not inclusive of LGBT communities. Negative right, well maybe not, although LGBT communities were excluded, there is the support for inclusion across the board. Although it was not explicitly stated in the bill there are a lot of insiders searching to be inclusive of all communities.

This is, yet again a classic example of why we need to mobilize our communities for action on the federal level.  SIDE NOTE: As you know the Network has and will continue to reach out to our community for input on federal initiatives to ensure LGBT inclusivity. BUT we can’t do it alone, we need your support on action items promoted by the network. There are two opportunities which can be found on the website www.lgbttobacco.org right now.

Sorry I digress… back to the topic!

I am sure by now you are thinking, where does the Black and White situation come into play… Well one of the panel members, in response to a question addressed, stated that it is all about the black and white. DATA that is, until there is equality across the board with inclusive LGBT data, we will still be fighting for overall inclusion of our communities. We all know there is not enough data to support our work, we have to continue barking at the doors for inclusion. Together we will succeed, and there is hope for the future.

In closing, I wanted to thank all of the LGBT focused researchers who have spend so much time addressing the needs of our community. Your data is what is helping to prove the case on the federal level. This was echoed in the presentation and, I know I just wanted to take an opportunity to say thank you to all, and please please keep us informed of your new projects. We want to showcase the work that is being done in our communities, and showcasing your data, and to support the work we are all doing.

Until next time,

Gustavo

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