Special Edition #LGBTWellness – New Year, New Focus on LGBT Health

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

The first month of 2019 is now behind us. How are your personal New Year’s resolutions coming along? Do you need support on making them happen? And are you wondering what progress will be made on LGBT health in the new year? In this week’s roundup, we take a closer look at the work that LGBT Healthlink, CenterLink, and LGBT centers around the country are doing to support individual and community health.

All of Us Can Improve LGBT Health! All of Us Chicago_0013.jpgCenterLink announced its participation in the All of Us research program, a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. Given the dearth of health information on LGBT people, HealthLink will use its network (and Twitter chats) to help share All of Us’s community resources and build an LGBT-inclusive national movement.

Center Expands Health, Housing Network

GayRVA reported on how the LGBT Life Center of Norfolk is expanding its health services for the LGBT community, soon to open its third health clinic in the region. Like many of CenterLink’s member centers, the Life Center has expanded far beyond just providing HIV services to providing an array of health and wellness programs. They include transgender-specific services and even help with housing, a key component of health.

New Paper Delves Into Data

LGBT HealthLink published a white paper on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection, and why more (and more consistent) collection is critical to improve health outcomes in the LGBT community. The paper examines best practices and explores how to formulate questions, as well as disproves common misconceptions (such as that patients will refuse to answer questions, or that SOGI data is not relevant for improving LGBT care). The paper is one of many resources available for anyone in HealthLink’s free membership program.

lgbteldersSupporting LGBT Older Adults

ABC News reported on a $500,000 grant received by a Michigan health center to expand services for LGBT older adults, an oft-overlooked and growing part of the LGBT community. In addition to providing integrated services to this population, they will also focus on provider training and networking, sharing of best practices, and increasing dialogue on this group’s needs.

Transgender Students Face Risks

In other news, the CDC published an important study on the health disparities facing transgender students in high schools across 19 jurisdictions. They found that transgender students were significantly more likely than their cisgender peers to experience victimization, use substances, and face suicide risk. A bit of positive news was that transgender students were also more likely than others to have been tested for HIV.

Trans Adults Get Screened Less transcanadianflag

Researchers found that transgender adults in Toronto were less likely than their cisgender peers to be screened for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer. For example, only 33% of the transgender patients who were studied and eligible for breast cancer screening had done it compared to 65% of their cisgender peers. Such data in the U.S. is limited (but we’re working on it!)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 

The CDC marked January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and shared information on receiving Pap tests, HPV vaccines, and HPV tests to make sure that folks who have cervixes (including many transgender and nonbinary folks) stay cancer-free. If you are looking for LGBT-specific cancer facts, check out LGBT HealthLink’s fact sheet library here.


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