Gustavo Torrez Program Manager The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Last week Scout and I hit the road and headed to St. Louis MO. to work on a new Technical Assistance contract funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). For those of you who are unaware, MFH has a long standing history of funding innovative projects to reduce health disparities in their state.
The Project is solely focused on health policy change initiatives, which is huge, allowing us the flexibility to develop a replicable policy change initiative model that can be used across the country. The best part about it is both groups have amazing folks working on the project who all have a vested interest in reducing health disparities, with a focus in tobacco control. The current project is a 6 month start-up with a goal of long term sustainable funding. As the lead on the project, the Network is working in partnership with two local funded groups:
PROMO a statewide organization advocating for equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education, and
SAGE: a program focused on enhancing the lives of LGBT older adults through service, advocacy and community awareness.
Our two day meeting focused on Asset Mapping to being looking at both internal and external opportunities to influence the project goals and objectives. For those of you who are unaware of Asset Mapping, it is an exercise that helps groups/individuals create a “map” of available resources, and opportunities in the respective community. The goal is to create a complete (or as close to complete) picture of the current opportunities, community’s strengths and needs as we begin to work on policy initiatives for the state. One of the main benefits of Asset Mapping is bring folks to the table to have open dialogue about the community’s resources and readiness to initiate and outline further opportunities as a group building a unified vision for the group.Asset Mapping is mutually beneficial for both the Network to help to address challenges and barriers as they arrive but also to help all parties at the table to truly get to know community partners and organizations to being to set the stage for sustainable, long lasting working relationships. In addition, it helps to identify, community assets, resources issues, gaps in services, and areas for further coordination and collaboration.
We look forward to the next phase of this project and our continued work with staff at both Promo and SAGE. We will be sure to update you all on the success, and learning opportunities we encounter moving forward.