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.
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
- With 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.
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