As usual, February has been a very busy month for the Network. One major effort was assessing our current years progress and developing an action plan for the future year as part of our re-application for next years CDC award (year four of the five year cooperative agreement). We are happy to report that we have already exceeded our two major foci for the current grant year: expanding our social media presence and engaging people in direct advocacy. The hub of both successes has been our blog with over 7,500 views so far this fiscal year, it is rapidly becoming one of the largest LGBT health blogs online.
We are pleased to report great success at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s annual Creating Change Conference in Minneapolis. Not only did we have Scout and Emilia live blogging from the conference, but we sponsored three blogging scholars to present a well-rounded report on the event: Dean Andersen, Megan Lee and Sasha Kaufmann. Together, we wrote and publicized 24 blog entries on this premier gathering of LGBT leaders. We are happy to say that in line with our goals and expansion, Creating Change has significantly expanded health programming in the last three years. For example, there’s now a routine pre-conference institute on LGBT health; this year Scout participated by presenting on HP2020. Our other major effort at Creating Change was to get signatures for a letter to the CDC requesting routine national LGBT data collection. This was a response to CDC’s lack of data and simultaneous call for data collection in their new health disparities report. We collected well over 200 signatures, exceeding our original goal of 70. In other small data related issues, we are pleased to be informally helping National Center for Health Statistics as they conduct historic cognitive testing on LGBT surveillance questions and we have joined the organizing team for a forthcoming transgender surveillance meeting being led by The Williams Institute.
In addition to Creating Change, Gustavo presented at the Food and Drug Administrations, Center for Tobacco Products Stakeholder Discussion Series Session focusing on Minority Communities and Groups Affected by Tobacco-Related Health Disparities in Oakland. Also Scout facilitated the first LGBT community meeting on health and wellness in Atlanta. We’ve been providing technical assistance to Atlanta’s Lesbian Health Initiative as they conducted the first ever LGBT wellness survey and focus groups. This community meeting was the next step in this process, engaging leaders to participate in tobacco and wellness action planning.
A major gain that took place within the last month was the Arizona Department of Health’s announcement of $400K for LGBT Health Projects. We have been supporting and advising Arizona in best strategies for funding local groups, now we’re offering technical assistance to the applicants. In a similar vein, we are helping Iowa Department of Health find ways to integrate LGBT work in their forthcoming low socio-economic status tobacco award. Following up with last month’s news about SAMHSA’s request for enhanced LGBT plans in their state suicide funding, we collaborated with The Trevor Project, The Equality Federation, and CenterLink to conduct a technical assistance call helping local groups contact their states to advocate for smart LGBT strategies in the state proposals. While the health topic isn’t a focus area for us we have strong hopes the strategy will be a successful one we can deploy for the soon-to-be-released Community Transformation Grants (see the new White House press release with detail on this funding). We were very pleased with initial results: we engaged 44 new (to us) LGBT groups from 21 different states with this single event.
-Your Friends at The Network