Introducing Monthly Network Activity Reports

by all the Network staff

Wouldn’t An Occasional Overview Be a Help?

We try hard to tell folk about all the stuff we’re doing as we do it, but there’s lots of stuff happening these days so we’re really feeling the need to summarize every so often. Well each month we’re required to give an activity overview for the Board meeting of our parent organization, the mightily excellent (and tall) Fenway Community Health. But why keep that overview a secret. So… we’re going to experiment with posting that report here too. They want us to do our summary in a paragraph, which we fail at horribly, so you’ll see we gallop through things quite quickly. So don’t be shy about giving us feedback, we’ll keep tweaking for format until it works as well as possible.

November Activity Report

(as of Nov, 23rd, 2010)

Please bear with us as we report another month with lots of activity. This month we added two more nominations to our previous ones, nominating members for the National Advisory Council on Vital and Health Statistics and the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health. We were down in DC early in the month to present at two different meetings, the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting and NCI’s Tobacco Research Network on Disparities meeting. We had a score during this trip because after several inquiries, we were invited to meet with HHS staff to ensure adequate inclusion of LGBTs in the forthcoming (first ever) HHS Tobacco Strategic Plan. Later in the month we went down to attend the launch of the plan, and were very pleased to see all of our recommendations included. During the first DC trip we also participated in the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting with the Administrator of SAMHSA, in part getting her agreement to convene an ad-hoc LGBT community advisory group. This is part of larger ongoing work we’re doing with SAMHSA around their new LGBT and tobacco priorities. We were also able to give one scholarship to a blogger, Juan Carlos Vega. He not only did a yeoman’s job posting about the Coalition meeting, but we all stayed over to do a train the trainer with him and a doctor from Puerto Rico. They are going to adapt our cultural competency trainings to Spanish and use them to train 700 Puerto Rican doctors this March! But even more, at this meeting we helped the local advocates strategize a new event. So we’re happy to announce the first ever LGBT Wellness Summit is now planned for March 2nd, 2011 in San Juan PR!

We have several policy advocacy efforts underway this month. We have two open action alerts, one soliciting stories of LGBT discrimination for the Joint Commission, another soliciting feedback for the federal cultural competency standards. We also met with Dr. Bauer from CDC a second time to present our recommendations about how to integrate disparity populations in the forthcoming Community Transformation Grants. I’m very pleased to say we took the lead in drafting standards for disparity inclusion in all Request for Applications (RFAs), and CDC staff were *very* receptive, Dr. Bauer said she will try to include as many of our suggestions as possible in that RFA, and others. We weren’t able to directly attend a historic listening session HHS convened last week on LGBT data collection, but we  helped the community members coordinate our message, presented data resources to the meeting conveners beforehand, and have confirmation they’ll HHS staff will be talking with us further.

At a state level, we’ve continued our ongoing work with Minnesota, Missouri and Georgia. One new thing we debuted this month is a model LGBT Community Wellness Policy Scan survey, both Georgia and Minnesota may be interested in using it for their local work. We’re hoping standardizing some instruments like this helps us be able to roll together data from different localities. In another score, we helped Minnesota advocates prepare for a health meeting with their incoming governor, and as a result, the governor is now interested in adding an LGBT health expert to their state department of health management team! We’re also talking with Arizona Department of Health as they shape a forthcoming RFA to invest significant funds in local LGBT tobacco work there.

We’re trying very hard to use our blog to report more of our activities in real time and this effort is paying off. This month we had 500 readers in the first ten days alone and we’re getting a lot of praise on the blog from a wide variety of people. So be sure to catch our blog for the latest news or health reports from the field, or consider being a guest blogger!

Lastly and most important, we are very pleased to announce that our Steering Committee, as part of the recognition of our increased wellness work, has finished consideration of our name and has voted to change it slightly to The Network for LGBT Health Equity. Look for more on that change as we roll out this news to our constituents.

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