PopCtr Mtg: Panel Discussion on Probability and Non-Probability Methods

Scoutby Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA

SCIENCEBABBLE ALERT – This is a meeting for scientists, despite my efforts, some of this may get technical.

411 on the issue

Probability sampling = getting a group of people for your research that is statistically proven to be a random selection from the full population of interest, thus the statistics support you being able to draw conclusions for the full population based on the info from this random subgroup. (Like if 50% of your probability sample of LGBT people parachute, you can confidently say 50% of all LGBT people parachute.)

Non-probability sampling = any non-random sample of people. (Like if you do a survey at pride, it’s a non-probability sample.) Unfortunately, the statistics then do not support being able to generalize these findings to the full population, because there’s a chance bias might have snuck in. (Like, maybe pride participants aren’t as closeted as other LGBT people, so even if 50% of your sample are in LGBT parachuting clubs, you can’t say 50% of all LGBT people are in such clubs.)

Why’s this a big issue? Probability sample data is the gold-standard for drawing conclusions, but we have much less of this for LGBT people, mostly because LGBT measures aren’t included on the monster federal surveys that are the big probability studies.

Panel Members:

  • Dan Kasprzyk, Ph.D. Vice President of NORC (which I realize is so well known as one of 2 fanciest survey shops that his bio doesn’t even say what NORC stands for… so just know, NORC=surveys)
  • Melissa Clark, Ph.D. Brown University Department of Community Health
  • Margaret Rosario, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey Parsons, PhD. Hunter University

The Panel

Dr. Kasprzyk led the panel off talking about some of his interesting experiences as part of the Institute of Medicine committee for the recent LGBT report. He emphasized that the choice of probability or non-probability might really not be as important as the reporting and impact of any well-designed study, regardless of the methods chosen. Then he moves onto talking about the federal surveys. “If the federal gov’t added LGBT measures to the American Community Survey, then allowed oversampling, that alone would allow the community to target populations, whether it’s regional, city, rural, you name it, and we’d be much better off. But we have to go beyond NHANES, you have to get on other surveys, NHIS and especially the Labor Force Survey would be very valuable.” He emphasized how important it was to get measures on these large full-probability surveys, “because otherwise you remain invisible.”

“Probability data is very important, it is the gold standard, in Washington, that’s what people are going to listen to. I think the real advancement in healthcare policy comes from really pushing hard with the federal government to have these questions on those surveys, and that point cannot be diminished. I think it’s really important that we actually stay focused on the federal government and become part of that health policy debate.” Dr. Kasprzyk

Dr. Clark followed (that’s Melissa to you and me) and led off by echoing all of Dr. Kasprzyk’s points. She says “”That’s usually how I end every talk I give about sexual minorities, I say ‘please help us get these questions added.'” She talked about her experience at Brown University and how much she’s been working to try to get the non-LGBT researchers to include LGBT measures. Through this effort, she’s managed to take one of the IOM report recommendations and institutionalize it, “Now when there’s a new study, people have to either include sexual minorities or explain why they are not.” Kudos to Melissa, let’s hope NIH follows suit!

Next up was Margaret Rosario. She warns us that while probability samples are important, most of our real explanatory data will come from non-probability samples because they are so much cheaper they have more latitude to go much deeper into issues, explore causal models, etc. For her, the bottom line is either approach can be useful, it’s often an issue of cost, if we have the chance to do the higher costs full-probability samples, excellent, if not, let’s just do excellent non-probability studies. Lastly she also weighs in on the importance of getting LGBT measures on the large surveys, “For the probability studies, please please, whatever we can do to get questions on there, do be able to identify the population as best we can, we should definitely do that.”

The panel was rounded out by Jeff Parsons. He talked about how it always seems there’s a flavor of the day at NIH for the newest rage for sampling, some of which are just never really viable in the field. “You can’t just count every 9th person who goes in the bar and pull them for the study, it doesn’t work.” Tonda Hughes from UIC echoes that sentiment, noting that the popular method, Respondent Driven Sampling, has never worked for her in samples of women.

As the discussion opens up to audience comments, there’s an interesting suggestion from Jim McNally, a director at ICPSR (the Intra-university Consortium of Political and Social Research, probably the largest data library in the country). one of the University of Michigan (ICPSR) scientists… “We recommend people work to create a small strong full probability sample and then ask the same questions you have on the federal surveys. That way you have policy strength to compare to the federal questions.”

Center for Population Research in LGBT Health Holds Annual Convening

Scoutby Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA

My Non-Sampling Error Experience

Ok, I’ve fled from the very exciting Netroots Nation conference to get back to Boston because today and tomorrow mark the 3rd annual convening of one of The Fenway Institute’s other major initiatives, the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health. Not only does this mean I get to hang with some of my farflung friends for two days, not only does it mean the largest gathering of trans health researchers I’ve seen, not only does it mean I get to meet many upcoming researchers involved in the mentorship program, but right now, it’s also the biggest meeting about LGBT research that occurs each year.

I came a little late, so am jumping in as the head of one of the most prestigious survey centers in the country, Dan Kasprzyk of NORC, weighs in on issues related to LGBT sampling. (He was just talking about a non-sampling error experience.) So, I’m going to focus more on the actual content now… but just wanted to start off by giving you a little bit of context to the meeting, because this is a really cool project.

Abstract of Center for Population Research in LGBT Health Project

Previous studies have shown that sexual and gender minorities have higher prevalence of life-threatening physical and mental health conditions, experience significant barriers to health care quality and access, and face substantial threats to quality of life. Population-based research is necessary to more fully understand the causes of these disparities, so that effective responses can be developed. The proposed project’s long-term objective is to create a sustainable capacity for population studies and the translation of results into practice models for sexual and gender minorities. This 5-year effort will be conducted by the Fenway Institute, supported by the Research and Evaluation Department of Fenway Community Health (FCH), a Federally-Qualified Community Health Center. FCH provides comprehensive primary health care and mental health services annually to 11,000 neighborhood residents and students in nearby colleges and to LGBT persons, primarily from Greater Boston. Approximately 55% of patients self-identify as LGBT, reporting sexual or gender minority behavior and/or identity. The project has the following specific aims to develop the infrastructure for population research regarding the health of sexual minorities: (1) develop and support a multidisciplinary faculty to advance the study of sexual and gender minority populations, (2) create a shared research library, to include selected population-based datasets and findings from a large clinical dataset, and (3) disseminate the products of our work through the internet, a monograph, and peer-reviewed journal articles.  A team of researchers with diverse qualifications has been assembled to address these specific aims, with the assistance of a National Advisory Board of experienced population scientists and technical experts. The input and collaborative work of these researchers will lead to a common framework for multidisciplinary scholarship that advances understanding of sexual minority populations and how social, cultural, and institutional factors influence their health. This work will provide a foundation for culturally competent treatment approaches and behavior change models for sexual minorities.

Breaking News! NY Hospitals Announce Mandatory LGBT Cultural Competency Trainings

Scoutby Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA
Reporting from Bellevue Hospital, NY

I’m down here in NYC and very, very happy to be at the press conference where New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation just announced mandatory LGBT cultural competency training for all their 37,000 employees! They also debuted the excellent new LGBT cultural competency video created by our friends at the The National LGBT Cancer Network. The Cancer Network created the full training to be administered to every NYC hospital employee, both the trainings and video are available for purchase or replication. (Don’t forget, the National LGBT Cancer Network is also our collaborator in our brand new LGBT Wellness NYC Marathon team.)

To have the head of all NY public hospitals reinforce that LGBT cultural competency trainings are a mandatory part of good healthcare is historic, let’s hope other cities and hospitals soon follow! See their press release here.

L to R: NYC Councilman Daniel Dromm; Liz Margolies, ED of National LGBT Cancer Network; NYC HHC President Alan D. Aviles, NYC Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, and HHC doctor.

Even HHS Secty Sebelius weighed in on what a big deal this is:

“I applaud the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation for its leadership in ensuring LGBT patients are treated with the respect and dignity we all deserve. HHC has offered a path to a fairer America and HHS looks forward to seeing other efforts from care providers from around the country toward that same goal.”

We were also live-tweeting from the event with all play-by-play tweets on @lgbttobacco and @lgbthlthequity with some major help from friends on the ground @cathyrenna and @RennaComm, so check out updates there.

The video shown features the stories of several LGBT people who have experience bias in hospitals and in the healthcare system. You may have already seen an article about these trainings in Huffington Post, and an excerpt of the powerful video can be seen here:

Let’s hope the news spreads fast and other hospital systems follow suit.

See more press about this in:

  1. Advocate Magazine: NYC Hospitals Adopt LGBT Competence Training
  2. DNAinfo.com: New Hospital Program Addresses LGBT Health Woe
  3. New York Times Blog: For Public Hospital Employees, New Training on Gay Patients
  4. NY1: New Program Attempts To Eliminate Barriers For LGBT Patients
  5. Rainbow Access Initiative: Breaking News! NY Hospitals Announce Mandatory LGBT Cultural Competency Trainings
  6. University of Arkansas for Medical Science: Center for Diversity Affairs to Sponsor LGBT Cultural Competency Strategies Webinar

wrap up about CC10

My last day at CC10 was wonderful, but sad.  I made some new contacts and was sad to say “good bye” so soon.

The Closing Plenary Session was great, especially with Vogue Evolution.  They tore up the stage with great energy.  I like the Q&A with the group.  I was ready to start making some moves, myself.  The beat of the music had me going.

Once again, give it up for the 1st Nations Collective as they gave the Closing Prayer.  I always like attending an event that acknowledges an Opening and Closing Prayers, at the the beginning and ending of the event.

I attended the Conference Feedback session, to provide my personal feedback on the overall conference.  I addressed several issues such as:  presenters should address ALL populations when they use graphs and charts, there should have been some type of Reception for Native Americans and the presenters for the film “Two Spirits” should have allowed attendees to provide comments and feedback about the film.

I shared with my face book friends to consider attending Creating Change 2011 in Minneapolis.  I am looking forward to attending another Creating Change, in the near future.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network for allowing me the opportunity to attend the conference.  I had a wonderful experience and will always cherish every moment at Creating Change 2010.  It was a blessing to personally meet Gustavo and Scout.  I had a fun time assisting with manning the table during the conference.

I plan to use the knowledge that I gained to help raise more awareness and advocate for the Native American Transgender communities in the Southwest Region.  #cc10 #qnet

Let's work to pass ENDA NOW!

An urgent meeting for details on passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was held at Creating Change. I came away with a renewed sense of how anyone can do the work to get ENDA passed and a long list of suggestions to help.

If you’ve been following ENDA news, you may have recently felt discouraged by word that ENDA was not moving. Mara Kiesling of the National Center for Transgender Equality let us know that ENDA is, in fact, still moving and set to be voted out of the committee VERY SOON (think within WEEKS). There is definitely a sense of urgency to be contacting our Representatives and Senators NOW. If you already know your legislator supports ENDA still contact them- they need to feel our support so they know we’ve got their backs if they catch fire for support us.

To quote Jaan Williams from NCLR (who should go down in history as ENDA’s hero when it passes) “Our legislators need to know this is personal this is our lives and we CANNOT wait another year”

Here’s a great list of ways (many I’d never thought of!!) we can accomplish letting them know:

At home? Here’s some simple actions ANYONE can do:

– post to facebook “Did you know it’s completely legal for someone to be FIRED in most states for being LGBT? We must fix this and pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. More info at http://UnitedENDA.org” This simple action lets your actual friends and family know how they can support you. Most of us don’t talk to the people who care the most about us enough about how they can help us.

– Follow @ENDAnow and the #ENDA hashtag on Twitter to help spread the word. Tweet about employment discrimination with the #ENDA hashtag.

– set up an in-district meeting with your Senator NOW. You don’t need to be an expert to be your own lobbyist- you only need to tell your story. Never met with a legislator before? Learn how here: http://unitedenda.org/take_action

On campus?

– A fierce group of students at the Indiana University was able to get over 150 letters to Congress in just a week by tabling. Woohoo! If you didn’t know- snail mailing letters to Congress members works. They love to read stories on the House and Senate floor of why their peers should vote with them.

– host an ENDA panel or bring in a brilliant speaker like Mara Kiesling from NCTE (who is also HILARIOUS) to help people learn about ENDA.

Working with a grassroots group?

– Jaan Williams talked about a “Stop and Dial” campaign that Equality California used to great success. The idea is so simple any group of five friends could do it. Essentially you go to an area full of supporters (campus, club, group meeting, etc) and ask people if they’re against workplace discrimination. Then you hand them your phone to call the Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave a message in support of ENDA. Brilliant! Contact Jaan for training materials at JWilliams@nclrights.org

– friends and family phone banks! Also simple and completely genius. Get a group of folks together from your organization and ask them to call people they actually KNOW to contact their reps in support of ENDA. Again, see Jaan for training materials. JWilliams@nclrights.org

Part of a faith based organization?

– a United Church of Christ leader suggested bringing up the Golden Rule and talking about values, worth and dignity.

– Phonebanks, Stop and Dial, tabling and many other ideas can be used to great effect by faith based orgs as well.

This list is clearly not exhaustive. There are more ideas and resources listed at the United ENDA website http://unitedenda.org and at the ENDA Now! site http://endanow.com/

Let’s get out there and pass ENDA!

Let's work to pass ENDA NOW!

An urgent meeting for details on passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was held at Creating Change. I came away with a renewed sense of how anyone can do the work to get ENDA passed and a long list of suggestions to help.

If you’ve been following ENDA news, you may have recently felt discouraged by word that ENDA was not moving. Mara Kiesling of the National Center for Transgender Equality let us know that ENDA is, in fact, still moving and set to be voted out of the committee VERY SOON (think within WEEKS). There is definitely a sense of urgency to be contacting our Representatives and Senators NOW. If you already know your legislator supports ENDA still contact them- they need to feel our support so they know we’ve got their backs if they catch fire for support us.

To quote Jaan Williams from NCLR (who should go down in history as ENDA’s hero when it passes) “Our legislators need to know this is personal this is our lives and we CANNOT wait another year”

Here’s a great list of ways (many I’d never thought of!!) we can accomplish letting them know:

At home? Here’s some simple actions ANYONE can do:

– post to facebook “Did you know it’s completely legal for someone to be FIRED in most states for being LGBT? We must fix this and pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. More info at http://UnitedENDA.org” This simple action lets your actual friends and family know how they can support you. Most of us don’t talk to the people who care the most about us enough about how they can help us.

– Follow @ENDAnow and the #ENDA hashtag on Twitter to help spread the word. Tweet about employment discrimination with the #ENDA hashtag.

– set up an in-district meeting with your Senator NOW. You don’t need to be an expert to be your own lobbyist- you only need to tell your story. Never met with a legislator before? Learn how here: http://unitedenda.org/take_action

On campus?

– A fierce group of students at the Indiana University was able to get over 150 letters to Congress in just a week by tabling. Woohoo! If you didn’t know- snail mailing letters to Congress members works. They love to read stories on the House and Senate floor of why their peers should vote with them.

– host an ENDA panel or bring in a brilliant speaker like Mara Kiesling from NCTE (who is also HILARIOUS) to help people learn about ENDA.

Working with a grassroots group?

– Jaan Williams talked about a “Stop and Dial” campaign that Equality California used to great success. The idea is so simple any group of five friends could do it. Essentially you go to an area full of supporters (campus, club, group meeting, etc) and ask people if they’re against workplace discrimination. Then you hand them your phone to call the Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave a message in support of ENDA. Brilliant! Contact Jaan for training materials at JWilliams@nclrights.org

– friends and family phone banks! Also simple and completely genius. Get a group of folks together from your organization and ask them to call people they actually KNOW to contact their reps in support of ENDA. Again, see Jaan for training materials. JWilliams@nclrights.org

Part of a faith based organization?

– a United Church of Christ leader suggested bringing up the Golden Rule and talking about values, worth and dignity.

– Phonebanks, Stop and Dial, tabling and many other ideas can be used to great effect by faith based orgs as well.

This list is clearly not exhaustive. There are more ideas and resources listed at the United ENDA website http://unitedenda.org and at the ENDA Now! site http://endanow.com/

Let’s get out there and pass ENDA!

queer bodies, queer spaces, post Creating Change culture shock

Another thing I absolutely LOVE about Creating Change is the way that we take over a hotel and turn it into a very, very queer space for those 5 or 6 days.  I love the way the hotel sports bar/restaurant becomes a queer bar…and yes queer bar, not gay bar, because there’s this beautiful mix of queer folks spanning ages/identities/orientations/gender etc. etc. etc. that are all hanging out in there.

And yes, I must admit, I do love the shocked look that I sometimes see when someone I’m coding as straight walks in to watch the game and sees this massive gathering of a totally diverse group of people that they code as lgbtq.  It’s pretty awesome to take such a gendered, straight space and queer it up.

Of course, lets not leave behind the space at the forefront of so many battles…the bathrooms.  I love, love, love having gender neutral/gender blind bathrooms.  I love the way the bathrooms that have anything to do with the conference are all gender neutral/gender blind.  I get spoiled by it.  The one time that I did venture out beyond the hotel I was in a gay bar and often those spaces become gender neutral because we just decide we’re going to use what we’ve got.  Especially when folks gather at a bar that only has  designated “Men’s” rooms.

I love that folks are friendly and say hi to each other walking in and out of the bathrooms.  I love  that instead of staring at the floor and bee-lining for a stall hoping I don’t accidentally look the wrong way at someone and get beat-up I can walk in at a regular pace and feel safe heading into that space.

By the fourth day of the conference I usually begin to take it for granted, because, really, shouldn’t I feel safe going to the bathroom whenever and wherever? I know some folks disagree with gender neutral restrooms and I don’t want to negate that.  I’m just speaking from my own experience here.

That said, on Sunday at the airport I had an interesting experience.  Airport bathrooms are sort of their whole own other issue, especially post Larry Craig.  I’m about ten thousand times more anxious when I go into an airport bathroom than any other bathroom.  I find the performance of masculinity and heterosexuality in airport bathrooms staggering and terrifying.  You better believe I am staring so hard at the floor that I sometimes injure myself walking into a door.

It was early (for me), and I was kind of stressed out due to travel issues and all kinds of other things.  When I finally got through security and found a bathroom, I walked in and happened to be amongst a couple of military officers, some businessmen in their late 50s and some other men I coded as straight.  I didn’t realize until I was washing my hands that I felt REALLY WEIRD AND UNCOMFORTABLE.  It was an extra level or two above normal bathroom anxiety for me.  Whats that about? I thought.  A minute or two later I realized that I was in TOTAL culture shock after Creating Change.

This always happens, re-entry into mainstream every day society is always a shock after CC or any other lgbtq conference. But wow, it was intense.  I ran into my friend Vince who was flying back on the same flight as me to Colorado and I asked him “Hey, did you feel really really weird when you went to the airport bathroom?”  He said no and asked me what I was talking about and then he said you know, you’re right actually, I did feel really weird but I didn’t have words for what was going on, it is pretty intense now that I think about it.

Anyone else? What other spaces are you finding culture shock in?  I have been finding it at the grocery store, school, the school bathrooms , target and really everywhere I’ve been.  I’ve even felt weird at the gender neutral bathrooms by the GLBT resource center on campus, I think because I know that not all the folks using those are queer.  I’ve gotta do some personal exploration on that.

It keeps making me think back to the war on drugs panel I went to and Gabriel saying “queer bodies are battle grounds for cultural wars.”

And please, what’s up with the signs?? can we PLEASE get rid of the triangle dress? This pic is from a queer group and I still don’t like it.

i got it from googling gender neutral bathrooms, it was labeled gendernar

LOSE the triangle dresses already