Inaugural Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium Big Success

By Dr. Scout. Director, LGBT HealthLink at CenterLink

Screenshot 2015-10-06 09.05.59
Some of the many amazing people making the Inaugural Midwest LGBTQ Health Summit a success.

We’ve gone to lot of places to train, but we especially love when we’re pulled out by people who are already doing their own organizing about LGBTQ health. That’s why it was such a pleasure to be able to do the opening plenary for Screenshot 2015-10-06 09.10.24the Inaugural Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium. The event was convened by our old friends over at their health center, Howard Brown, and by Illinois Masonic Hospital. And let me tell you, it was a jam packed day full of really great information.
First up, I opened the event with a State of LGBTQ Health speech. I’d already done a similar one at the CenterLink Summit the week before that we taped, so look for the transcript to be up here soon. I was so happy to see such a big house too, they had nearly 150 attendees, almost all of whom were medical providers. It’s a rarer event when you get to talk to medical providers directly, and we always like to talk advantage of that. What types of things did I cover? Well, you know it was cancer (can you say HPV screenings) & tobacco (e-referrals anyone?), but I also ran by some of the latest developments in mental health, suicide prevention, HIV, access to care, cultural competency trainings, research, bi health, data collection, and violence. Our health is made up of so many different issues.
After that, people split into different tracks. I dropped into a few sessions on treatment and care of trans youth which were excellent. As a trans adult, I’m extremely excited, and frankly a little jealous about what the future will be like for the increasing number of youth on hormone blockers from an early age.
Then it was onto a great lunch about the top developments in trans health over the last decade, presented by my friend Dr. Asa Radix from Callen-Lorde. He acted like he just threw together his presentation because I took all his topics by going first, but I don’t buy it, he was sharp and gave a great overview of how far we have and haven’t come.
Then folk were onto a full afternoon of more great presentations, including aging, smoking cessation, PrEP and more. Great job to Howard Brown’s lead educator, Cecelia Hardacker, and the Illinois Masonic counterpart, Oscar Zambrano, for pulling together such a strong and diverse event. Sign us up for next year.


When Love Wins, Health Wins

By Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLinkHealthWins-500x500We’re all cheering loudly over this morning’s decision to allow gay marriage across our land. This isn’t just a blow for equal rights, it’s a huge step forward for our health. Every public health student learns about this little thing called the Marriage Protective Hypothesis, it’s how we explain the body of evidence showing legally married people have a range of health advantages over single people, and even over people who are just living together. Married people smoke less, recover from cancer faster, have fewer mental health problems, and live longer. Apparently, it’s good to have someone who’s declared their love for us in a very public way looking out for our health. This isn’t even counting the additional mental health bump we’ll get from knowing there’s less discrimination against us (and of course more support for us) in the country. It’s my prediction that today’s news will mark a watershed moment in LGBT health surveillance.


LGBT Community Centers Applaud Supreme Court for Helping Reduce LGBT Health Disparities


June 25, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Dr. Scout, (954) 765 – 6024, scout@lgbtcenters.org


Ft. Lauderdale, FL – This morning’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Obamacare is solid progress in the battle to reduce persistent LGBT health disparities.

“LGBT people being chronically underinsured and uninsured is a fundamental piece of the pattern of well documented health disparities in our communities. The Supreme Court didn’t just decide to uphold a broad health law, they decided to uphold the single policy decision which has done the most to provide accessible medical care to LGBT people,” said Dr. Scout, the Director of CenterLink’s health arm, LGBT HealthLink. LGBT people have a constellation of health disparities including: smoking more, higher levels of mental health problems, other substance abuse issues, and lower levels of cancer screenings; all of these problems are aggravated by barriers to accessing healthcare.

“The hundreds of LGBT community centers across the nation are the safety net for LGBT people who are struggling, with health issues, with isolation, with discrimination,” says Terry Stone, the Executive Director of CenterLink, “as frontline providers, we have seen the impact this law has had on people’s daily survival. Now you can search LGBT friendly insurance providers, you have redress if an insurer doesn’t treat you the same as others, you have an option if your company does not provide partner insurance.”

As open enrollment first began LGBT HealthLink created a series of social media ads featuring LGBT people who had experienced problems accessing health insurance. “Within a few days of asking for people’s experiences we’d heard from trans people being outright refused medical care, one trans person living in pain because they couldn’t get care for certain body parts, a young gay man who lived in fear of ever needing to go to the hospital, a lesbian couple who was forced to commute 5 states for a job so one could continue getting her chemotherapy;” notes Dr. Scout, “the stories were heartbreaking. It also struck us that a year later, two of the ten people in our open enrollment ads had passed. Do not make the mistake of thinking that barriers to healthcare do not affect our lives.”

CenterLink and LGBT HealthLink want to congratulate the Supreme Court for helping reduce LGBT health disparities.

# # #

LGBT HealthLink, a program of CenterLink, links people and information to spread LGBT wellness best practices across state health departments, federal policymakers, and community organizations. We are one of eight CDC-funded tobacco and cancer disparity networks. http://www.lgbthealthlink.org

CenterLink – was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers. A fundamental goal of CenterLink’s work is to help build the capacity of these centers to address the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country. Now in its 21st year, CenterLink continues to play an important role in addressing the challenges centers face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity, access public resources and engage their regional communities in the grassroots social justice movement.



Sample Best Practices for LGBT/Priority Population Inclusion

I’m in DC today, meeting all day with the Surgeon General’s 50th Anniversary Report on Tobacco (aka #SGR50) Workgroup on Tackling Disparities. We’re going through an exercise now where we’re brainstorming best practices for priority population (pripop) programming on a few different metrics. We’re doing this to try to encourage more of the #SGR50 leadership organizations to adopt these best practices.

So it has me thinking what would I list as some of the LGBT/pripops best practices in each of the five metrics we’re discussing?


  • CDC’s model of funding mainstream tobacco control work, then attaching pripop network grantees to help keep that work inclusive.
  • Directly funding LGBT/pripop community-based grantees to bring expertise into a total funding portfolio (see NM or WV as great examples).
  • The model that several governmental agencies have now used to ask for LGBT/priority population tailored activities in action plans in scored sections of incoming proposals (this is an especially great way to boost pripop work with no new dollars allocated (see details on how in next point).
  • See all the excellent ideas in the 2010 joint policy statement put out by the allied disparity networks.

Leadership development:

Internal Structure, Staffing, & Training:

  • Use Legacy model’s of doing an internal survey parsing percent of staff representing specific priority populations at both management and local levels, including surveying their satisfaction/job opportunities, and tweaking recruitment strategies to redress gaps.
  • Use NIH/CDC’s model of establishing an expert advisory body for LGBT/pripops of your inhouse self-identified staff. Use them to advise on inclusion in programmatic activities.
  • Use American Heart Association’s model of putting all staff through a cultural competency training annually. Or better yet, look at the NYS model where they fund a network of cultural competency trainers to supplement their HIV work.
  • Use Legacy’s model of developing active organizational relationships with priority population representative groups. And don’t make these one way relationships, give before you ask.
  • For LGBT, use the 1 in 25 rule for a general gauge of how welcoming your worksite is… if 1 in 25 people will disclose LGBT status to strangers, then at least that number should be openly LGBT at work.

Community Engagement

  • Use the Chicago model of developing a special workplan to address LGBT disparities. (See their LGBT Healthy People 2020 plan).
  • Use the NC Dept of Health model where all their non-LGBT staff decorate a car and participate in LGBT pride every year. (heyyyy to the “quitline ladies”, see pic of them to the right)

    The Quitline Ladies draw a crowd at NC LGBT Pride.
    The “Quitline Ladies” draw a crowd at NC LGBT Pride.
  • Use the VT Department of Health model where they a. partnered with a local LGBT organization (<– always smart) and then took it to the next level, they created a rainbow version of their DOH logo for LGBT tailored outreach

Accountability & Transparency

  • Use NM example of putting out an LGBT specific report on data collected.
  • Use the HealthLink model of putting out state tobacco report cards.
  • Use the model of the CDC Health Disparity & Inequality report model.
  • Ensure all routine data gathering collects LGBT measures. (incl. surveillance, grantee reporting, employee satisfaction, EHR, etc). Again see model on our best practices document.
  • Put up a webpage talking about your engagement in this issue, see sample from VT Dept of Health here, and HHS example here.
  • Look at the models used by the Task Force & American Federation for Teachers for frequently signing onto joint statements of interest for allied priority populations (see AFT signon to our LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights here). This builds community strength.

Head Shot Scout 2014 lo res

Dr. Scout is the Director of LGBT HealthLink at CenterLink.


Farewell Dear Daniella

Director of LGBT HealthLink
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the departure of our beloved Daniella Matthews-Trigg fro-86XVOLgGeHRh6zFKlukdvuOhsUMN7XDRemDWE5vABAm the HealthLink staff. Daniella was not only the person who has been the heart of the blog for at least the last year, but she’s been the glue that’s really been binding so many pieces of our activities together for a very long time now. She wasn’t always in front of the mic but everyone who’s worked directly with us knows most roads led to Daniella. Her skill and passion made my life easier on a daily basis, and her wonderful attitude was a pleasure to all. Daniella leaves us to move back to her homeland, New Mexico. In the next year she’s planning to enroll in graduate school, which is the only reason it seems ok to let her go. So farewell dear Daniella, you shall always hold a special place in our hearts, and we hope you might still find time to post a blog or two for us.

Building A Culture of Health in the LGBT Communities

Funders for LGBTQ Issues infographic.
Funders for LGBTQ Issues infographic.

Head Shot Scout 2014 lo res

Director LGBT HealthLink

[The following is a transcript of a speech I gave at the LGBT Health Funding Summit on January 28, 2015. The transcript has been slightly edited for readability.]

My name is Scout, and as many of you know, I’ve been working with HealthLink for about 9 years and in LGBT health for dozens of years. It’s been really interesting recently because we’re seeing a real shift in how health work is done across the country now. My arena is public health. That means we spend a lot of time focusing outside a doctor’s office, intervening on the social determinants of health and making a difference as to whether or not we ever see a doctor’s face. With healthcare reform, we’re shifting our national focus on health away from the doctor’s office. Instead, we’re moving towards prevention strategies, towards wellness strategies, and the many different inputs that affect the health trajectory of our lives. For me, from a public health perspective, this is one of the most exciting times that I can remember being in this profession.

So what do I do? I’m Director of LGBT HealthLink. It’s a federally funded program that provides technical assistance to all the federal grantees that are doing work in wellness and chronic disease, particularly related to tobacco disparities and cancer prevention. One of the cool things about this is I get to approach state health departments all around the country. Of course, I spend most of my time working outside of places like New York or California. Instead, I am invited by Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, etc.― states that have almost no contact with the LGBT communities except in their HIV programs. I get to fly in and talk to them about this is how these departments of health need to build relationships with the LGBT communities.

First let’s look at the landscape. What is the single entity that does more health care funding in this country than any other? The federal government. Federal Medicaid and Medicare programs spend more on health than anybody else. Who spends the second highest amount on healthcare funding? It’s the state governments.

As we see the excellent work coming out of Out2Enroll and other organizations, we as a community have put a lot of energy into trying to persuade federal health representatives to be LGBT inclusive. However, the state governments are actually something that we haven’t put nearly as much energy into. They’ve almost been given a pass from us so far. So, I get to work with a lot of the state departments of health and do a lot of cultural competency training with them. I also work out of CenterLink, which is the community of LGBT centers. We represent over 160 LGBT community centers, large and small, around the country. These community centers are where a lot of these frontline LGBT services occur.

So the question for today’s talk is: How do we build a culture of health in our communities? One of the first things we do when we visit a state such as Arkansas or Wisconsin is try to connect them with local LGBT health resources. When I trained the Mississippi State Department of Health staff (who unexpectedly turned out in droves to learn how to include an LGBT focus in their health work), my first step is to say, I need you to build bridges with the local LGBT communities. Unfortunately, in too many states, there aren’t enough LGBT community groups who do health work. One of the things we need to do is build that capacity.

Every other year, HealthLink surveys our 160 LGBT community centers. These were some of the findings in our most recent survey: LGBT centers do a lot of health activities. Sixty percent were training healthcare providers in how to be culturally competent and sixty five percent were doing wellness programming, initiatives such as tobacco control, eating better, exercising more, etc.

One of the things I want to stress is that cultural competency trainings and wellness programming are actually two areas where it’s almost impossible to obtain foundation funding. Local organizations are usually drawing from general operating money in order to provide those services. For example, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is funding today’s health conference. I love that. Many years ago, we did a little campaign to persuade the Foundation to include more LGBT funding in its work. The president was nice enough to commit to more inclusion. As a result, I ended up getting a Robert Wood Johnson Tobacco Policy Change Award. This work was very successful. If you ask the people in Washington D.C. how their smoking ban was passed, they still credit the LGBT communities for playing a key role.

Now understand, I used to run teams of grant writers. Caitlin Ryan actually taught me how to do it. I’ve raised over $110 million through grant writing. I can do grant writing; I’ve got that down. But when Robert Wood Johnson asked me to raise a matching gift of only $50,000 to continue year two of this very successful tobacco-policy change work, I couldn’t get anywhere. The program folded. So as we think about the cultural competency trainings and wellness programs that happen, I need to point out how few foundation resources we have to support this key work.

Let’s examine this from another angle. HealthLink actively engages in needs assessments around the country. We’ve provided a stock needs assessment template and shepherded a few different states through this process. I want to share some of the findings from one particular state. I won’t even mention the state because the point is that I think it’s pretty representative of many states. Let’s just say it’s in the South and it’s a red state. So what are the people experiencing and what are they talking about in regard to their health priorities? In this state, 64% of the population reported that they feared coming out to their healthcare provider because they thought there was going to be negative reaction. Actually, you will find out that’s more than justified. I’m surprised it is not even higher, because one-half of the population has had a negative experience after coming out to a healthcare provider. 97% of the people in this survey wanted to incorporate more wellness strategies into their life. They want to eat better, exercise more, receive cancer screenings, and become tobacco-free. Yet, two-thirds of them had never seen any wellness program that had been tailored to the LGBT communities. And I am surprised it is not 100% of them, because I don’t think there has ever been a program tailored to us in this state.

Right now we have a wave of wellness activity around the country. Some of this is spurred by healthcare reform. If you are familiar with the federal statistics, you may know that almost $1 billion dollars hit the street in these grants called Communities Putting Prevention to Work and later Community Transformation Grants. This wellness funding was for cities, states and metropolitan areas around the country to build this wave of more farmers markets, bike paths, tobacco cessation programs, smoke-free housing, etc. Of the hundreds of millions of dollars that hit the streets the last five years, how many LGBT programs were funded? Two. That’s all I know about.

We have a culture shift right now towards wellness that is occurring across our country. If we talk about LGBT disparities, I’m sorry to say but I actually think that we are building a new LGBT disparity relating to wellness because we are not standing up and saying we need to be included in funding.

Let’s go back to our needs assessment, what do the people in this state say are their top health issues?

  1. Suicide
  2. Mental health
  3. Bullying
  4. HIV
  5. Access to healthcare

A couple notes about these findings: First, let’s talk about the single issue that has taken more years off of our lives than any other. According to the CDC, there is one health challenge that is currently predicted to kill a million of us. And there are only nine million of us in the country, right? A million of us will die early from this health issue and it’s not on this list. What is it? It’s smoking. Right now LGBT people in our communities spend $7.9 billion a year on cigarettes. The last time we checked that was 65 times more than the grant funding for all LGBT issues combined. Smoking is actually the ninth health issue; unfortunately, because most of the funders and policy makers rarely include us in their tobacco control funding, we don’t often see it as one of our priorities. Still, tobacco is by far the thing that is going to affect more of us than any other health challenge.

The health priority that was dead last was cancer. If you noticed in the recently released LGBT Vital Funding health report, there is $4 million given out annually for LGBT cancer. Who is funding most all of it? The Komen Foundation. So our cancer funding is exclusively for cancers related to women. Do you know that gay men have rates up to 34 times higher than other men for anal cancer? There is almost no funding for that at all right now. Do you know that if you are HIV-positive and you have your meds under control, the top two reasons you are going to die are smoking and cancer? Again I must emphasize, these are two major funding gaps.

Let’s look at what the LGBT community members did identify as their top health issues: suicide, mental health, bullying. What do I conclude from this information? That right now, we don’t yet have a culture of health in our communities. Right now, we have a culture of survival. We are very crisis driven.

Let me give you an example of how this plays out. We contacted LGBT community centers earlier this year. We asked, ”What would it take for you to pass a wellness policy? A policy of committing to offering healthy food, exercise options and generally promoting health within your organization?” Now understand, these are organizations that already do health work in most cases. It was really interesting because of one of the primary reactions we received was, “We can’t go there because we are too crisis-based right now. We have another suicidal youth coming to our door; another homeless adult; another person whose parents are being horrible to them.” It’s a day-to-day crisis. This really shows we don’t have enough capacity in the organizations that are doing the frontline work so that they can build programming that feeds larger community level goals.

Where does this culture of crisis come from? We know according to GLSEN school climate survey that 85% of our LGBT youth experience verbal harassment in the last year. We know that 56% experience discrimination. We’re raising community members that are experiencing stigma from the earliest point in their life. How much is really being done for youth to find a place where that stigma can be neutralized? Where they can be inoculated against it? 90% of the LGBT community centers right now are doing youth work. They are often the frontline places, along with the GSA networks, where the youth are congregating. Too often in this work right now, there is nothing coordinating these groups. My organization, which is the national association of the community centers, has a program called YouthLink to do just that. Arcus had funded that program, and that’s great. But right now there’s no one supporting that coordination. We are still trying to look for more resources to share lessons between these youth organizations. There also isn’t a big youth conference and the GSA networks don’t have a single convening body. Our youth work, if anything right now, is concentrated in national groups that do not do local programming and offer little coordination for the many local groups. These groups are valuable, but we should be able to access funding to build and sustain local work as well. We know these stressors experienced by our youth translate directly into health disparities for our adult population.

That’s my overview of where we stand with our health culture. Now I am going to suggest three opportunities that I believe will build us towards a culture of health as quickly as possible.

The third tier level of opportunity is to fund early.

As I said, social determinants of health demonstrate anything that happens earlier in life has a larger effect on the trajectory of your whole life. The more we do to stabilize those youth programs and those youth that are experiencing discrimination, the better off the whole population will be five, 10, and 15 years from now.

So what is the second tier level of opportunity? To fund technical assistance so we can move our organizations into bigger funding streams.

States are the number-two health funders, right? And just so you know, the second most likely topic for states to fund (beyond HIV) is youth services. But out of all the organizations we asked, 40% said that their states were not welcoming the LGBT issues. So I want to ask: are we okay with that? Do we feel comfortable with the fact that 40% of states are refusing to fund LGBT health? Hopefully not. Hopefully, that’s something we really will change. I love Kellan Baker’s message that we need to do more administrative health advocacy work. That’s exactly what it will take to change the state funding patterns. We need to hold the states to a higher level of accountability, as we’ve been holding the feds to a higher level of accountability. But accountability alone won’t fully solve this problem. Another barrier we have is that proposals to states and the federal agencies are much more complicated than the ones to foundations. 70% of the community centers say that they have problems applying for state and federal proposals because they have staffing issues, staffing limitations, and not enough expertise. For example, recently, there was a federal pot of funding for racial and ethnic minority wellness programming. It was called REACH. And let’s put it this way, it would have benefited them to fund an LGBT organization. So I called a racial and ethnic minority LGBT organization that we all know does excellent work― and asked them please try to put in a proposal for this money. It was a significant award. Bless them; they tried. About halfway through, they admitted we just don’t have the capacity to do the grant development. Therefore, the second thing I’d say is that it would be great to have more technical assistance for people to do state health advocacy and grant writing. Why not fund some national grant writers who are on call to help local organizations get into bigger funding streams? It’s a small investment that could create new funded local programs all over the country.

Now we’ve reached onto my first-tier opportunity to build a culture of health. This is the single strategy I think would be the most important to accomplish, and funders are in a particular position to do it. Better yet, it doesn’t involve one single grant.

When we saw how Community Transformation Grants essentially skipped our communities, we started to build a set of recommendations of how the next Request for Applications (RFA) could be LGBT welcoming. Not even just LGBT welcoming but LGBT encouraging.

We thought about how we train health providers to be culturally competent and realized, Why not ask funders to be culturally competent as well? So we created a set of LGBT cultural competency standards for funders. These standards weren’t complicated; they basically conveyed a single message: whenever you fund population-based work, make sure you ask for some LGBT tailored work in the proposal’s action plan. Usually you do this in the same way you’d ask for work to be tailored to overlapping disparity populations, like racial and ethnic minorities or low-income people, etc. But don’t just mention the words LGBT in the RFA. Specifically ask for steps in their action plan. Score applicants on inclusion. It’s that simple.

What if every LGBT funder here joins Grantmakers in Health, attends their meetings, and asks what each health funder is doing to ensure LGBT inclusion in their mainstream funding? In the health world LGBT funding is only a tiny sliver of the pie. But if you can step up and ensure the rest of the pie includes tailored work for us, that’s the real win. What if Funders for LGBTQ Issues put out a policy statement of what LGBT cultural competence is in health funding? The 2011 LGBT Institute of Medicine report has a great model on this. They recommended to NIH that all of their research proposals must either include LGBT people or justify exclusion to avoid getting a lower score. What if that model was adopted by all health funders around the country? That’s where we don’t just have the power of the people in the room, but now we’ve leveraged our voices to influence a much larger stream of funding.

So what’s my first tier opportunity? The single best way to achieve a culture of health in the LGBT communities is by creating a culture of LGBT in health funding.

Thank you.

Tobacco Policy

Missouri Coalition Pushes State to National Leadership on LGBT Health

Missouri might not top many LGBT people’s lists of great places to live, but after today you might want to rethink the charms of the Show Me State. For the last year a local coalition has been pushing adoption of LGBT-welcoming policies at hospitals. In this week’s release of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index, Missouri zoomed from 37th in the country to sixth in the number of local LGBT leader hospitals.

We don’t see policy changes this quickly very often, especially when they require many companies to adopt new policies. What’s the secret to this unlikely success? A few years ago Missouri Foundation for Health funded a partnership with the local Equality Federation partner, PROMO, and SAGE Metro St. Louis. My project, LGBT HealthLink, was also brought on board to provide them with technical assistance. With funding and staff and policy expertise all in place, the Missouri team got down to business to see what they could change to affect LGBT health disparities in their state.

If you just look at the situation today, you’d think they immediately stumbled on the equivalent of oil and a match for policy change, but, like many good projects, they started slowly. First they mapped the policy environment; then they tried a few different strategies for change. One of the things they identified was a big gap: While most hospitals were required to have LGBT-nondiscrimination policies by the agency that accredits them, they could find little evidence of those policies by searching. And if we can’t find them, then patients couldn’t either.

For a while the PROMO staff played nice with the hospitals, trying to build relations and seeing how to move the changes gradually. Some hospitals did respond, but the work was crawling forward. Eventually, we switched to a different tactic, blanketing many hospitals with letters pointing out that these policies were required. Then, of course, the PROMO staff person, Andrew Shaughnessey, was there following up with multiple phone calls offering to help them with policy resources. The new strategy, which we’ve taken to calling the “terrier approach,” worked. Eventually even the hospitals that said they weren’t interested started to call Andrew back. And if they needed LGBT-cultural-competency training as part of the new policy changes, Sherrill Wayland from SAGE was ready to step in to set up in-person trainings at a moment’s notice.

The upshot of all of this work was that, while in 2013 seven hospitals had LGBT-nondiscrimination policies in place, now 31 do. While seven hospitals protected LGBT status in employment, now 30 do. While two had achieved Healthcare Equality Index leader status in 2013, now 19 have. Today several of those hospitals are putting out their own press releases lauding their LGBT-welcoming policies. It’s a far cry from 2013, and that means much better access to health for thousands of LGBT people in Missouri.

What I want to see now is this amazing level of success replicated. I’ve worked in policy change for a very long time, and trust me, a model to change policies this fast comes extremely rarely. While they had a funder in Missouri giving them the time to experiment with different strategies, any other community center or equality organization in another state can take advantage of that work and just do what worked for them. Nicely, the PROMO team has documented their steps really clearly in the LGBT HealthLink blog. See the first post about it here.

Kudos to everyone in Missouri. From the amazing staff team at PROMO and at SAGE to Missouri Foundation for Health, who cared enough to invest, and the many hospital systems who jumped on board, this is an amazing job by all, and it’ll really affect the health of the LGBT communities in your state.

Now who else wants to do it for their states?


New Mexico Convenes a Large LGBTQ Health Summit

Director of LGBT HealthLink

This year’s Sexual and Gender Diversity Summit in New Mexico was all about health, tackling the topic: “New directions for LGBTQ health and wellbeing.” I had the pleasure of being invited to give a keynote and it was a packed house. Almost 200 people crowded into the University of New Mexico auditorium on a Saturday to spend dawn til dusk hearing about health concerns of subpopulations in the larger LGBTQ communities and to discuss what was working and what needed to be done about those things that weren’t working. I especially liked the gender diversity panel and to hear how their state equality group has really taken a leadership role on fighting for health equality. Best yet though was being reacquainted with the longstanding LGBT tobacco control project in that state, some may remember STOMP, it’s now be rebranded to Fierce Pride and I assure you their presence was exactly that, fierce and fun.

2014-09-20 15.23.31
Me happily posing with members of the local CenterLink affiliate: Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico.

2014-09-20 12.25.51

2014-09-20 15.51.43
Sample of promotional material from Fierce Pride NM. Love the Espanol!

2014-09-20 15.52.58 2014-09-20 15.58.58


Can You Help Your State Incl LGBT in Their 5 Yr Tobacco Plan? 2 Webinars Thu.

Director of LGBT HealthLink
What’s our October focus? Glad you asked. All state departments of health are busy responding now to a once every five year chance for them to write a proposal for more federal tobacco money. And for the first time we’ve succeeded in making sure LGBT was mentioned as a population they needed to address in the funding announcement!
So for the next four weeks states are crafting their five year tobacco plans, and we are working with everyone who can help the states know what to plan regarding LGBT integration.
If you’re a community member who wants to help coach your state reps into doing a good job on this, please join our webinar 1 pm EST Thursday to learn who your state rep is, and what language you can suggest they include. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/924812785628775426
And if you’re a state rep trying to do this well, join us an hour later, at 2 pm EST Thu for a star studded lineup of other state reps who’ve done successfully LGBT integration into different facets of their programs. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6032220218508789250
Remember when states integrate LGBT focus into this work they:
  • collect data on us
  • fund local community based organizations
  • do cult comp training
  • conduct local needs assessments
  • include us in their advisory bodies
  • Did I mention fund local community based organizations?

Let’s do this!


Announcing Our New Name – LGBT HealthLink: The Network for Health Equity

Headshot Scout
Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
If you’ve ever stumbled over our name, you are not alone. We originally designed the name of the Network for LGBT Health Equity to be crystal clear about who were were as we built awareness among state departments of health but as we all heard, it was long and people stumbled over it often.

A year ago, we moved our organization to CenterLink, the community of LGBT Centers. We are really enjoying being so integrated with community centers across the land and want to tell everyone where we live.

It’s time, we now need a new name that reflects our home and how we’re not the new kids on the block any more.

So please welcome me in introducing our new name…

LGBT HealthLink

The Network for Health Equity

If you liked us before, you will love us now. It will also be easier to remember our new name and our new home.

Stay tuned as we really start to do more brand building on this name over the next year. We want to be as well known among LGBT leadership as we are to state departments of health. If you’ve got any good ideas for that, we’re all ears!