by Scout, Ph.D. Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity At The Fenway Institute
The process of preparing our annual reapplication for CDC funding always creates a nice moment to pause and consider our core activity base over the last year. We’ve posted the full reapplication narrative in the resource library and encourage people to read it. But I wanted to just hit some of the highlights here.
Core Activity A: Maintain & Strengthen a National Tobacco Control Network
CDC mandated responsibilities
- Recruiting new participants and organizational involvement beyond tobacco control
- Maintaining decisionmaking process with input from diverse participants
- Increase network capacity to ID and/or provide expert consultation
- We’ve had some great mini campaigns of activity over recent years. Two of our past ones, building the blog and building our social media outreach, showed strong continued growth this year. Our social media stake grew by about 30% to nearly 7k followers on FB and Twitter pages
- The Discussion listserv, which represents our core membership, grew by 38% to 363 people. The list averages a little over one post a business day, and about a 1/3 of those are dialogues. This remains our most praised activity, and we know the information from there is often forwarded to key decisionmakers.
- The blog, which is our core news repository, continued marked growth, roughly doubling the people who clicked through to read stories, from 1.5k to 3k/month. We know many of those new eyeballs are from non-Network readers, because of the reposts in new arenas.
- Much of this growth has been through our strategic shift from only broadcasting tobacco news to putting out a range of news and including tobacco thematically in that stream. We had hoped to reach a broader audience with the strategy and it has proved successful.
- Our collaborative webinars with Centerlink and Equality Federation have really expanded our reach to a new audience. As an example, the last webinar before this collaboration had 16 participants, the most recent one had 91 registered participants, spanning 26 states, almost all of whom were new to us.
- We’ve had a marked expansion and broadening of the Network leadership base, as exemplified by the existence of a very active Steering Committee and a second very active and not overlapping Summit Planning Committee.
- The Network Steering Committee continues to take initiative above and beyond expectations: in the past year they created a new media plan for us, underwent a full strategic planning process, and began a new in-depth best practices identification process. (more news on that
next monthin the post directly after this one!)
Core Activity B: Facilitating Learning & Information Sharing
CDC Mandated Activities
- Developing a system of communication with participants and consortium members
- Participate in external communications with national tobacco control partners
- Raising awareness and importance of tobacco control
- Promoting collaboration among network participants
- Promoting culturally competent policies
- Promoting countermarketing efforts
- Great information sharing infrastructure: blog posts grew by 45% in past year and 35% of those were by guest authors.
- Very strong participation in collaborations, including: New Beginnings Initiative (joint agencies pushing for federal advocacy changes), National Coalition for LGBT Health, LGBT Population Research Center, and GENIUSS working group (GENder Identity in US Surveillance).*
- Provided direct in person technical assistance trainings to six states in past six months on culturally competent practices.
- We also collaborated with National LGBT Cancer Network to field first LGBT Cultural Competency training to American Hospital Association and for U.S. Public Health Service Corps. Advised Beth Israel hospital on integrating LGBT data collection.
- Our most recent mini-campaign has been to get LGBT media coverage of our work, as part of the effort to raise awareness of our disparity and tobacco control in general. Previously we’ve had near zero coverage. We’re happy to report this mini campaign has really born fruit.
- We’ve had a consistent upward arc in media coverage and mentions across the year, including several opeds by Steering Committee members, mention in Washington Post, the recent articles in San Diego Gay and Lesbian News and The Advocate, and the two recent blogs in Huffington Post.
- We’ve had good progress in one of the media plan goals: building relationships with reporters. One example of this impact was when a Blade reporter, at our urging, buttonholed Secty. Sebelius about data collection, which broke the story about the forthcoming data collection for the largest federal survey.
- Joint activities by Network staff and membership resulted in fast removal of pro-tobacco t-shirt from American Apparel site.
Core Activity C: Assess Impact As Well As Gaps
CDC Mandated Activities
- Maintain repository of current literature, research, and proven or promising practices
- Convening participants to identify promising practices
- Convening participants to identify gaps and suggest solutions
- 41 new resources were added to the online clearinghouse this year
- We maintain and update an annotated bibliography of over 300 published LGBT tobacco related articles, including an accompanying electronic reference library
- A Steering Committee subgroup tailored the MPOWER model and populated it with an in-depth catalog LGBT tobacco promising practices. The preliminary work will be further populated in coming months by community input, then finalized and distributed widely. There is anticipation this science-driven process can be used as a model for other applications.
- We’ve run seven action alerts in past seven months encouraging members to speak up about solutions to noted gaps in federal or state policies.
- We’ve become some of the most active participants in federal health listening sessions, urging LGBT inclusion on many fronts, submitting testimony, submitting policy papers, and suggesting members for advisory committees.
- We conducted a major campaign this year to integrate LGBT work into the $100M of new local Community Transformation Grant work, this included: webinars; fact sheets about inclusion; line by line suggested modifications for the original requests for applications; submitting a proposal to be a national network ourselves; alerting Sebelius and other officials to the hurdles in integrating LGBT people set up by CDC; attending meetings with the principals on resolution; action alerts; helping individual communities advocate locally; and, creating a new Policy Sheet: LGBT Cultural Competency in Funding.
- We conducted a minor campaign to urge NIH to counter systemic barriers to LGBT research, including the chilly environment experienced by LGBT researchers, and the lack of inclusion of LGBT (and other vulnerable population) data in one major study.
- We testified about and suggested strategies to SAMHSA for enhancing LGBT integration in requests for funding, at least one later request for applications did incorporate enhancements.
- As one example of our policy impact: at the 2011 Secty. Sebelius meeting asking LGBT advocates what to prioritize for health in the coming year, the community advocates agreed to lead with the request to build LGBT cultural competency in routine funding, as outlined in our policy paper.
Wow, it really is interesting to back up and take stock every so often. We sure got a lot done.
This review wouldn’t be complete without saying a deep thanks to the hardworking staff, Daniella Matthew-Triggs and the inimitable Gustavo Torrez. Thanks also to all the other people at The Fenway Institute who really pitch in to make this project run smoothly. Special thanks to the indefatiguable Steering Committee members, including a very deep bow to our outgoing Chair, Dr. Francisco Buchting. And… a profound thanks to the many Network participants across the country. Your passion, skills, and selfless dedication of your time are our true power.
* Well what in the world did you expect us to call it after the earlier sexual minority data group took the name SMART group?