Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity A Project of The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
Were you at NLGTF‘s Creating Change 2010 (aka #cc10)? Then it’s quite likely you dropped by our booth to be one of the hundreds of people who used our computer to submit a public comment to the feds and National Partnership for Action asking them to really include lgb AND T people in their current draft health equity plan. Or maybe you saw our online action alert about it? Well, we got a great hint last Fall that our voices had been heard. At a community meeting with Secty. Sebelius the Office Of Minority Health staff said they’d received more comments about LGBT inclusion than any other issue and as a result they were significantly revising the document! Now, over a year after our first push, we’re very happy to say the final document has been released and the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity now includes trans people plus includes real integration of LGBT concerns. Huzzah!
If you remember the old draft document only mentioned sexual orientation 2x in 200 pp. Now we see LGBT explicitly mentioned from the executive summary forward, in four of five goal areas, and let’s just say it’s enough to presume that all the general text about “racial, ethnic, and underserved populations” includes us too!
For all of us working in tobacco, wellness, or really any health area, we especially love the first strategy of goal 5. Yes, yes, collect LGBT data! We’ve got amazing health disparities (like smoking at rates 35%-almost 200% more than general population) and we need to give every health policymaker the evidence to act.
1. Promote inclusion of data on race, ethnicity, gender, primary language, disability status, and sexual orientation or gender identity on federally and privately conducted or supported healthcare or public health program, activity, or survey.
Thanks again everyone! While it’s very important for LGBT organizations to do expert input, I think this was really an instance where we saw the power of numbers. The Health and Human Services (HHS) staff were clearly talking about how the quantity of input really made an impact on them, and that’s all you!
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Big thanks to…
The great folk over at National Coalition for LGBT Health (yay Kellan and Rebecca) for submitting input too, and to our project manager Gustavo Torrez and all our great volunteers back at Creating Change 2010 for spending long hours staffing that table and pulling people in to submit comments on the draft report (Juan Carlos Vega, Sasha Kaufmann, Trudie Jackson, etc.). And superthanks to the last minute policy analysis magician, our own Steering Committee member Joseph Lee, for ditching the party and going back to his hotel room that night to lay out line by line suggested enhancements for the 200 page report. Also thanks to our staunch allies at U.S. Office of Minority Health, Dr. Rochelle Rollins, and their director, Deputy Assistant Secty. Garth Graham.