Recent LGBT Policy Efforts Including New LGBT-Inclusive Requirements for Hospitals


by Emilia Dunham, Program Associate

Presenting on The Fenway Institute Brown Bag Presentation on LGBT Disparities

Today Scout and the Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, Dr. Judy Bradford presented on recent LGBT health reports as well as policy advocacy activities lately, including news that the Joint Commission is enforcing LGBT non-discrimination policies of accredited hospitals! It was a wonderful summary of the current state of LGBT public health, research and policy. I think it takes a lot to get caught up on all that’s going for LGBT health even more confusing to understand the broad-scale impact in the bigger picture. Even if LGBT health is your daily work, it’s great to get an inspiring refresher, which is just what this was!

Judy led off discussing the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report – The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People.

  • Dr. Judy Bradford

    Background/structure: This report is academically science-based and non-political in nature. A committee and IOM staff (some LGBT, some non-LGBT) collaboratively wrote this report over two years. The report reveals the health status (including disparities) of LGBT people, identifies gaps, outlines a research agenda and considers research training needs to foster the advancement of knowledge about LGBT health. It’s a mouthful, but concepts analyzed in the report are an analysis of the lifecourse, minority stress and intersectionality (ex. race and sexuality).

  • Major themes in the report revealed: Most research on LGBTs reveals health disparities in every area of LGBT health. Most research is uneven, mostly focusing on adults (less on youth and elders), mostly focusing on gay men, some on lesbians and little on bisexual and transgender people.
  • Priorities: demographic research, social influences, health care inequities, intervention research and transgender-specific health needs
  • Why collect this data?:  Inform scholarship and public policy, increase visibility and because we can.
  • To read more check out past entries such as its announcement.

Policy/Advocacy Advancements and Current Efforts

  • ScoutWith the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, we know of severe health disparities among transgender people. This is the best information we have on transgender health disparities, and is currently being used on the federal and state level to advance public policy for transgender people. This is a prime example of how community based research can be used for public policy.
  • There is a cross-HHS task force comprised of LGBT people and allies who are making huge positive changes for LGBT people. As a result of the collaboration, we are part of major federal documents, such as Healthy People 2020 that highlights us boldly, and will likely be adopted by state plans.
  • ***SOME NEW BIG NEWS:*** Additionally, as of July 1st, the Joint Commission is requiring all hospitals and health centers it accredits to have non-discrimination policies for LGBT people and just shy of requiring cultural competency, these institutions are being asked to be more welcoming. This is wonderful news, and we’re proud to one of the partners advocating for this since last fall.
  • Speaking of which, with yesterday’s announcement that 37,000 NY hospital staff will be required to have LGBT cultural competency, and the federal praise for it, this could indicate growing requirements for these trainings.

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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