Looking back: LGBT Health Annual Report

The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Keepin’ you in the loop!




The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the 2012 LGBT report, which sets goals LGBT health goals for the upcoming year as well as looks back over the achievements of the past year.

“It’s at the heart of the American dream: the belief that if you work hard, if you’re responsible in your community, if you take care of your family, then that’s how you should be judged. Not by what you look like, not by how you worship, not by where you come from, and not by whom you love. This belief means ensuring that LGBT Americans have the same protections and opportunities as their neighbors, colleagues, and family members. And over the last three years, this Administration has undertaken a broad agenda to do just that.”
– Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the
White House LGBT

You can check out the full 2012 LGBT Annual Report HERE!

Netroots Nation · Scholarship Opportunity · social media

We’ll be having a blogtastic time!

The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Bloggin’ it up

The Network is super pleased to announce our two fabulous scholarship recipients and guest bloggers who will be attending Netroots Nation 2012 with us in Providence, RI!


Sarah J. Jackson is a Postdoctoral Teaching Associate at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Her work focuses on how issues of social identity and social justice are covered by mass media. Follow her on Twitter at @sjjphd.



e. shor identifies as a sassy, genderqueer, immigrant jew. e.shor is a student of the world, an advocate and organizer of LGBTQ health initiatives, and lover of canoes. They believe that humor and genuine communication is the best way to build healthy, vibrant communities. Their dream work is to empower and educate LGBTQ communities about public health issues in our communities.


We are so stoked to get to hang out with these two fierce, activist bloggers at Netroots Nation! Be sure to check back here frequently, because they will be bloggin’ it UP!

Cultural Competency Trainings · LGBT Policy · Resources · webinar

Missed the Trans Health webinar Last Week? It’s okay, we’ve got you covered.

The Network for LGBT health Equity
An insider’s view of informative info…
Reporting on HHS’s Transgender Health Webinar

In the interest of keeping you in the loop, we wanted to provide some updates and resources about something GROUNDBREAKING- Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a first-of-it’s-kind webinar, called “A Healthy People 2020 Spotlight on LGBT Health: Transgender Health”!

Managed by HHS and launched in December 2010, Healthy people 2020 is a set of 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. One of the overarching goals of Healthy People 2020 is to “Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups”, andddddd Healthy People 2020 is way cooler than in past decades because it includes a section on LGBT Health!

Map of America

“During the past 2 decades, 1 of Healthy People’s overarching goals has focused on disparities. In Healthy People 2000, it was to reduce health disparities among Americans. In Healthy People 2010, it was to eliminate, not just reduce, health disparities. In Healthy People 2020, that goal was expanded even further: to achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.” (read more HERE)

As you can see above, this decade’s Healthy People is kind of our jam. And good news! If you missed the webinar (or if you would like to relive the experience), you can listen to a recording HERE! It comes highly recommended, not only because it was informative and relevant, but because it was also momentous and full of some seriously inspirational names in Transgender Health!


Hot or Not? “Tips From Former Smokers” Campaign

By Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

By now you’ve probably noticed the new anti-smoking campaign sweeping the nation and your television… The campaign, “Tips from Former Smokers” is by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) campaign  and has been getting lots of attention because of it’s graphic imagery and shocking stories.

The campaign highlights the stories of real people who are suffering the results of smoking related health effects, such as throat cancer, stroke and asthma. The campaign is focused around “tips” from them, such as “When you have a hole in your neck, don’t face the shower head”. The “tips” are poignant and emphasize the simple and powerful message that smoking has consequences.

Criticisms of the campaign are that the images are gratuitous and alarmist. However, studies show that anti-smoking messages such as these, which feature both an emotionally charged message that illustrates the impact of long-term tobacco use as well as encouragement and information about how to quit, are the most effective.

The CDC is also focusing their message toward target audiences with higher rates of tobacco use, including the LGBT community. “Tips” video ads are being aired on Logo during especially popular shows (shout out to RuPaul’s Drag Race!) in addition to paper ads in LGBT magazines.

For more information on the campaign, check out the CDC’s page HERE and you can access (and share) all of the videos HERE.



My Great Policy Challenge — Hello From Ani

Ani Koch
Director of Programs, Rainbow Health Initiative
My Great Policy Challenge

I have been working at Rainbow Health Initiative (RHI) for about 3 years. Policy work is nothing new for us, in fact we have always worked on tobacco policy development with organizations, businesses, events and so on.  The types of policies we work towards have changed over the past couple years as we have expanded our priorities areas to include physical activity and healthy eating.

Another thing that has changed is our frame of mind: we now look at every part of our work – every program activity and every professional relationship – as an opportunity for policy change.  No matter the priority area, every policy I have helped to create has started on the very same foundation: a strong relationship between RHI and the organization or individual capable of making the policy change. That can be the hard part: making the time to cultivate relationships, enter strategic community partnerships, and work with others where they are at…. and then talk about tobacco related health disparities.

I recently had an exciting epiphany: I literally woke up one day and realized I had dozens of relationships that I had not thought to leverage toward a policy goal. And relationships are what it’s all about.  So, right there in bed, I made a list of every Executive Director, small business owner, and event promoter I knew that could have a tobacco policy. Now, I have set out to change as many policies as I possibly can in the next 4 months. Specifically I would like to pass 4 per month for a total of 16 by Pride at the end of June.  To keep things interesting I would a like at least 2 of these to be specific to healthy eating and physical activity.

If you think policy change is some really abstract, overwhelming thing, let me give you a real-life example of how achievable it really is.

In an effort to capitalize on existing relationships I called up my chiropractor to have dinner. Dr. Rhys Preston has a history of working with people through all kinds of addictions. He is also a leader in the LGBTQ community who has recently taken an interest in tobacco control work. I asked Preston if he would be willing to hear about a project I am working on at RHI. I proceeded to tell him about tobacco in our community, what a policy looks like, and why policies are important.

Rhys was on board from the beginning- so I was preaching to the choir. I set up a follow up meeting where we put together the policy for Preston Chiropractic and Fitness Clinic bit by bit until we were comfortable with it. Dr. Preston has also agreed to introduce me to several friends and colleagues of his that are small business owners, like Ali Sands.

Ali Sands, has a massage therapy practice and happens to be married to Rhys. This was a natural next step as the two have some overlap with their clientele. Ali also has a personal commitment to health and wellness and is well known in the LGBTQ community. Ali Sands CMT looks much different business wise, so I asked to have lunch with her and talk to her about a project I am working on. Ali agreed, and during the lunch we actually crafted a tobacco policy for her business. Like Rhys, Ali is also excited about tobacco control work in LGBTQ communities and is more than willing to introduce me to other business owners that she knows.

I hope these examples serve well for folks to get out there and work on voluntary health policy! I will be sure to keep my stories coming and document everything along the way. 2 Down, 14 to go.  🙂

Funding · LGBT Policy · Uncategorized

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!)


Announcing! Seeking nominations for Steering Committee positions for Adults and Youth/Young Adults

      The Network for LGBT Health Equity is now accepting nomination to fill two positions on its 13 member Steering Committee. Please note that one of the two positions is designated as a youth/young adult position, and applicants must be between 18-24 years old.

The purpose of the committee is to provide multidisciplinary input and guidance on activities for the Network. Members will participate by sharing information regarding tobacco and other LGBT health disparity opportunities, providing input on National Network efforts, and considering strategic policy enhancements that further LGBT health disparity work at their organizations.  


  •  Attend regularly scheduled phone meetings (generally once or twice a month)
  • Attend one in-person meetings per year (paid for by the Network)
  • Review and give feedback on policy, direction, and strategic planning of Network Activities
  • Strategize effective ways to increase Network visibility, organizational outreach, and membership
  • Identify and increase the engagement of subgroups within the LGBT community (i.e., youth, rural, elder, etc)
  • Support and enhance the goals and objectives of the Network in a changing environment
  • Engage agency/coalition groups on pertinent issues/opportunities and report back to the Committee

If you are interested in nominating an individual or yourself for the committee the following is required (please send CV/Resume and Statement of Interest to lgbthealthequity@gmail.com):

  • Current copy of the individual’s CV or Resume
  • Statement of Interest from the nominee (maximum of 250 words and must be completed by the nominee)
  • Complete an online application questionnaire (must be completed by the nominee)

The Youth/Young Adult Nomination process is slightly varied.  

If you are interested in nominating a youth/young adult member or you are a youth/young adult and you would like to apply to be on the committee, click here to fill out the Youth/Young Adult Steering Committee Application form online. Youth/young adults can still be nominated or apply through the general nominations process (candidacy will not be affected by either application) and would follow the same guidelines by submitting the following: 

All Nominations must be submitted on or before April 16th, 2012 by 3PM EST

To: lgbthealthequity@gmail.com Subject: Steering Committee Nomination 

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 working days of your email nomination. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 2 working days, please resend and call 617.927.6452 to ensure delivery. If you are submitting a nomination on the due date and have not received a confirmation by 4PM EST please call 617.927.6452 before 5PM EST to resend or confirm delivery. Nominations received after 4/16/2012 at 3PM EST will not be accepted.
We look forward to reviewing your applications. Please feel free to forward and/or contact us with any questions.
Thank you,
Network Steering Committee and Staff

Comin’ Out for Health: National LGBT Health Awareness Week 2012!

Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
National LGBT Health Awareness Week 2012

Next week, March 26-30, is the 10th Annual National LGBT Health Awareness Week, a nationwide campaign that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health, organized by the National Coalition for LGBT Health.

The week urges local communities to “learn more about LGBT health and to participate in promoting health and well-being for all of their members, including LGBT people”.

This year, Health Awareness Week will be focusing on four core principles:

1. Consumer Empowerment – by making resources available to the LGBT community on how to approach their health care providers about their sexual orientation and gender identity;

2. Culturally Competent Services – by directing health care providers to resources on how to become a culturally competent source of services for the LGBT community;

3. Engaged Communities – by providing outreach materials to a variety of organizations to encourage participation in LGBT health Awareness Week; and

4. Inclusive Policymaking – by engaging Congress and federal administration during LGBT Health Awareness Week and providing resources to reach out to local and state officials related to LGBT Health.

In terms of events and projects, there are two big ones:

– The Coalition for LGBT Health, along with CenterLink and GLMA, will sponsor a conference call with HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakerfield on Tuesday, March 27 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST.

Phone Number: (530) 881-1300

Participant Access Code: 818207

*Please submit questions in advance to
Joseph Jefferson, Senior Policy Associate at jjefferson@lgbthealth.net

– The Coalition is also teaming up with Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. to collect stories in print and on film to create “opportunities for LGBT healthcare consumers to tell their story”! To read more about this inspiring project, click HERE!

 Click HERE for fact sheets, posters, post cards and other press materials developed by The Coalition!

And…..There are lots of exciting things happening around the country for LGBT Health Awareness week! Here is a small taste:

At the University of New Mexico, Out Queer Grads will be hosting some great events for LGBT Health Awareness week, including Transgender Health 101, a critical issues roundtable about Queer Health, “Stress Reduction for Queer Folks” and a health and information fair!

Out Queer Grads, University of New Mexico

University of Michigan celebrated the week early this year, with some really interesting talks, including “Intersections of Sexuality and Public Health: Examining LGBT Youth Health Disparities” with Jose Bauermeister, Ph.D.,and “Are Homosexuals Still Sick?” with David Halperin, Ph.D. (AND they have an awesome poster!)

LGBT Health Awareness week poster, University of Michigan

To see even more, click HERE! Need more ideas? The Coalition has got you covered HERE.

Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized

Update! CDC To Launch National Tobacco Education Campaign this Thursday!

By Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
CDC To Launch National Tobacco Education Campaign this Thursday

This Thursday,The CDC Office of Tobacco and Health will be launching their new educational campaign, called “Tips From Former Smokers”. The campaign will underscore the immediate health effects of smoking, and profile people who suffer from these health effects.

Today, the CDC held an informational call to tell people about the upcoming campaign and answer questions.

The campaign will include ads for television, public transportation and in select publications- including those that cater especially to LGBT audiences! The television ads will profile people with Buerger disease, Asthma, throat cancer as well as people that have suffered from heart attacks and strokes. There will also be some inspirational Public Service Announcements about people who have quit after smoking for many years. The ads officially start on Monday, March 19th and will run for 12 weeks, so stay tuned!

When asked about the proximity of the campaign launch to the release of the Surgeon General Report and the potential lack of youth focus, a line from the executive summary of the Surgeon General report was quoted- “There also is strong evidence that media ads designed for adults also reduce the prevalence of smoking in youth” (Chapter 6), and that the CDC felt that this campaign was the “most efficient way to achieve effects”.

The representatives from the CDC also spoke about how they will be providing technical assistance to state Quitlines who are worried that they will be overwhelmed when the campaign hits. Additionally, they would love to be informed throughout the course of the campaign about the response that the ads are getting- both positive and negative, and can be sent to: Tobaccomediacampaign@cdc.gov

Data · FDA · Funding · Resources · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized

Makin’ those connections: The Surgeon General Report and LGBT Youth

By Daniella Matthews-Trigg
Program Associate
Makin’ those connections: The Surgeon General Report and LGBT Youth

Happy Friday!

Yesterday was the release of the 31st tobacco-related Surgeon General Report. The surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, held a call to answer questions about the whopping 920 page document. The report focuses on the pervasive issue of smoking among youth and young adults, ages 18-25 (but let’s be honest- younger too). The report covers the epidemiology, causes, and health effects of  tobacco use in this population, as well as interventions that can be used to prevent it.

On the call, Dr. Benjamin talked about prevention being the key to stopping the “smoking epidemic”- 99% of smokers begin before age 25, so if we can get youth to remain smoke free until age 26, only 1% will start to smoke.

People on the call asked some interesting questions, which sparked some good conversations. Some things discussed included tobacco-control funding being cut on local levels because of current economic strains, smokeless tobacco products (which are seen to be “less bad”, but still contain NICOTINE. Additionally, use of smokeless products and cigarettes are almost always “dual use”), the importance of mass media interventions (Aiming interventions at youth “trend setters” who influence youth culture – hipsters, counter-culture and bar-scene crowds), and how smoke free policies lead to smoke free norms, which in turn help with the overall effort of tobacco control.

I think that this report is especially exciting and pertinent to the work that we are trying to do here at the Network. There is not much data out there about smoking and LGBT youth, but you better believe the rates are even higher than the already ridiculously high numbers of non-LGBT youth smokers. And we know that things like depression, bullying, not feeling supported, being stressed, not fitting in, etc., affect our LGBT youth AND are direct contributors to smoking.

In this moment where there is a lot of national focus on youth, around issues such as tobacco and bullying, I think it’s high time we put our heads together and made some serious connections between the problems that are in front of us, and the reasons that these problems exist- whether it is systemic homophobia, omnipotent corporations, whatever….There is amazing work that is being done, with people full of experience and knowledge. I think this is a perfect time for EVERYONE to get on board and who knows? Maybe we’re on the way to making a HUGE difference…

Hope everyone’s weekend is lovely!


Oh! And here are some useful links:

The Whole Shebang (all 920 pages ready to be downloaded)

Executive Summary


Fact Sheet