LGBT Health Awareness Week call with HRSA and SAMHSA

Daniella Matthews-Triggg
Program Associate
 Update on LGBT Health Awareness Week call

Today, the Coalition for LGBT Health, along with CenterLink and GLMA, hosted a conference call with HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakerfield and Dr. Alex Camacho, a social science analyst at SAMHSA.

Both spoke about the work that their organizations are doing around LGBT health.

Dr. Wakefield

Dr. Wakefield spoke about the breadth and scope of HRSA 100’s of programs and the amassment of an agenda that is supportive of LGBT health. She mentioned a few of HRSA’s programs and initiatives including:

  • HRSA’s support of community health centers (which provide much primary and preventative care)
  • Work with National Health Service Corp (Half of whom work in community health centers)
  • The improved ability to focus on preventative and management care because of the Affordable Care Act
  • Strengthening the national health workforce by funding schools and training programs
  • HRSA houses the department of rural health policy
  • Department motto of ” improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs.” (we love this!)
  • The updated information on HRSA website including archived webinars and grant and funding opportunities
  •  HRSA’s “community characteristic form” now includes an LGBT indicator
  • HRSA and SAMSHA are leading the way in inclusive grant language
  • Negotiated rule making- committee created for affordable care act, included reps from LGBT population (medically underserved populations)
  • HIV/AIDS bureau (another part of HRSA)- offering new grants, including for work with trans women of color with HIV and LGBT people at risk for HIV
  • Held Listening Sessions on LGBT cultural competency
  • Gave a shout out to Fenway!!!
  • Cultural competency plenary session (far reaching, over 900 clinicians trained! And because of affordable care act, 1000’s more will be trained!)
  • Looking for grant reviewers– Not based on experience. Important to have variety of reviewers.

Dr. Camacho spoke about the newly released publication, Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations: Information & Resource Kit and other LGBT specific resources on the SAMHSA website including A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals. 

After both Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Camaro spoke, there was a brief question session in which Fenway’s very own director of Government Affairs, Henia Handler, asked an excellent question regarding the testing of questions about sexual orientation for the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Dr. Camaro responded by explaining that they are currently  in the second and third phase of field testing a  question (in both Spanish and English) on sexual identity, which was determined through cognitive interviews. The question should be on the NHIS in 2015 and will help to address data gaps in terms of gender identity. (This is a HUGE step in direction of reducing invisibility of LGBT populations!)

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