Yes it’s true, the 5 year CDC Office of Smoking and Health coooperative agreement we’ve been funded from will be ending in a few more weeks. But before anyone gets upset — remember we were a Network of people working together before there was paid staff, and in the event we no longer had that luxury, we’d simply move back to our old model. (staff schmaff!) But we hope we don’t even need to go there, because there’s another five year award for networks we’re applying for now!
The Network’s first priority now is getting refunded and you can help! Do you think the Network is valuable? Then please write a letter of support for this next proposal. The staff will be happy to send you a sample, just email LGBThealthequity@gmail.com and ask.
This new award has some substantive changes — primary among them that the new networks will be for tobacco AND CANCER health disparities. Plus, built into that model are cancer prevention strategies, particularly eating well and exercising more. (*scratches head* Now who do we know who understands those cancer disparities?) The networks also seem to have a new emphasis on changing community based practices, that’ll be an interesting area of work. Plus there will be more disparity networks than before, up to ten, at least one new one for mental health (smart!) and possible a geographical one, and our old favorite -a wildcard network.
Old friends know we’ve actually had to compete under the wildcard category for the last two rounds of funding, which made our chances of winning it much slimmer. So odd, while there was a set-aside LGBT tobacco network for the first funding round (during the Clinton administration), it was removed for the next two (during the Bush administration), it beats me how that happened. Anyhow, nicely now science has led the day again and CDC is hoping one of the networks will specifically serve LGBT people. But there’s no guarantees!
There will also be a small funding gap between the two awards. Our current one will likely end somewhere in July, the new one, IF we get it, is expected to start in September. We might play a bit in August… but we’ve also got some backup plans so staff doesn’t wander off.
So, there’s some real changes afoot for the Network for LGBT Health Equity and it’ll be a bumpy Summer. But the staff and the Steering Committee are optimistic there’ll be a stronger and broader Network come Fall!