Netroots Nation · social media

New Resource to Guide Trans Inclusion on Surveys

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health EquityScreen Shot 2013-04-12 at 3.26.44 PM

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some brilliant people for a few years now as part of the Williams Institute workgroup on Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance, aka GenIUSS group! As more and more of us get pinged by feds and states about how to include trans measures in surveys and research, this is the place the researchers have come together to discuss the state of trans measurement. Many of us have conducted cognitive testing on questions, so you can imagine, the discussions get really chewy fast.

So, it’s with great pleasure that we share the release of the first GenIUSS resource reviewing the state of the arena on trans measurement for full population studies. (<- that’s important, because we’d ask different questions on community-based surveys). This is only an interim resource, because GenIUSS will be creating a full report in the near future. But there’s been such interest we all felt it was important to help provide an overview of tested options for survey developers quickly. So please spread this far and wide because people need to know there are a range of tested trans measures that can be added to surveys. And big thanks to Gary Gates and Jody Herman over at Williams Institute for making this happen!

Download the full review here: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/GenIUSS-Gender-related-Question-Overview.pdf

Netroots Nation · social media

Missouri Hospital Incident Highlights Need for Awareness & Training on LGBT Health Protections

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

This morning Bill Snook at Kansas City Department of Health informed us of a sad incident that occurred at one of their hospitals. According to reports, a gay man was denied access to his partner because the hospital refused to acknowledge him as family. (read more of the details in the Huffington Post piece here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/gay-man-arrested-missouri-hospital_n_3060488.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009). Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 5.16.56 PM

Unfortunately, this looks like it could be another example where new policies protecting LGBT health rights are not promoted as widely as needed. Obama’s presidential order from nearly two years ago clearly said any hospital who wanted to get Medicaid or Medicare payments must treat same-sex partners as family. Later clarifications even went further, making sure hospitals went out of their way to allow patients to designate partners who would have powers beyond simply visitation. We were also very enthusiastic when the HHS Office of Civil Rights assured us they would actively investigate any reports of LGBT health discrimination.

New Joint Commission regulations go even further in protecting the rights of LGBT patients. But sometimes it’s hard to even figure out if a hospital has adopted the new non-discrimination regulations.

It is one of our larger concerns that many of the new protections for LGBT health aren’t getting the promotion needed so everyone knows how we deserve equal treatment in health, and what to do if we don’t get equal treatment.

Luckily we’re very happy that through amazing agencies like PROMO and Sage in Missouri – this hospital will be offered free resources on how to change their policies to not just offer new protections but also share that information with patients. They will also be offered free resources for culturally competent trainings. But in our work with Sage & PROMO on their health policy project it’s already become apparent – passing protective policies is only half the battle, we need to educate LGBT people and hospitals about the protections these new policies offer before real change will come.

For today, our thoughts are with Roger Gorley and his partner as they deal with something no one in this country should have to face.

Netroots Nation · social media

Who Has the Real Power to Stop Smoking? Hint: Not Smokers

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

[Wanted to make sure my next Huffington Post tobacco post was echoed on our blog too, so please see the following post up there now, and please share it widely too!]

I used to be annoyed with smokers; now that I’m involved in tobacco control work at The Fenway Institute‘s Network for LGBT Health Equity, I realize how that thinking is seriously misguided. The epitome of my boorish behavior occurred one New Year’s Eve in New York City. I was all dressed up for the New York City Road Runners Midnight Run in Central Park. Walking back, I ran across Peter Jennings, the popular news anchor. He said “Great costume!” My reply to this star sighting? “You shouldn’t smoke.” I still cringe at the memory.

Yes, Peter Jennings shouldn’t smoke, a point that was no doubt driven home by his later death from lung cancer. I, like many others, thought smokers were the problem with smoking. They aren’t. Many non-smokers don’t realize smoking is actually a pediatric epidemic. The average age of initiation is a tender 11 years old. An addiction researcher friend of mine who’s personally experienced heroin and tobacco addiction is very clear: Tobacco is the more addictive of the two, in his opinion. Now, what if companies were legally addicting one-fifth of our kids to heroin at the age of 11? Would our reaction be to just say to all those adults, “You should stop”? Of course not. We’d offer them lots of support and tools to stop while turning back and tackling the root of the problem, as we should with tobacco.

Let’s put smoking in its larger context. How many health insurance companies pay for cessation treatment? Too few. How many even pay for nicotine replacement therapies? Again, way too few. (Remember, if you wanted heroin treatment, you can get methadone for free at government-funded clinics.) How much of the hundreds of millions in tobacco taxes are put toward cessation treatment? A recent Massachusetts study estimated 99 percent of their tobacco taxes are funneled to other issues. According to the most recent American Lung Association report, 32 states get an F on their cessation efforts, the feds get a D, and the highest scoring handful of states only get Cs.

Read the rest on their site, and do please share! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scout-phd/quitting-smoking_b_2582247.html

Netroots Nation · social media

Did you notice — last week was biggest week for LGBT/tobacco media ever?

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

Huge thanks to American Legacy Foundation for all the work they did to push out all their LGBT spotlight pieces and the event last week… but in case folk didn’t happen to notice (full details coming soon) last week was memorable in LGBT tobacco history for having more LGBT media articles on tobacco than I’ve ever seen … maybe than I’ve ever seen in all my years put together no less!

We’re monitoring the media and will give you the full roster, but time to ask, did your local media do an article on the new Legacy video yet? Or on Bil Browning’s brazenly honest disclosure about his cessation effort and the cruel twist since he started to quit? (in case you don’t know, he is the main editor of the #3 LGBT news blog nationally, we danced with joy when he said he’d be public about his cessation efforts) If not, might be time to hit them, there’s hot stuff here, and lots of media are putting out stories on this.

Remember not too long ago when Naphtali, Ruth, and the others at UCSF analyzed LGBT media and found the references to tobacco were overwhelmingly positive or neutral imagery? Well… last week might be a watershed moment in that historical narrative — so watch out world!

Netroots Nation · social media

Huffington Post Spotlights Our Blog on LGBT Tobacco

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Great to see editors feature tobacco control versus pro-tobacco content!
Great to see editors feature tobacco control versus pro-tobacco content!

As part of the whole Legacy rollout of their LGBT special focus yesterday we put up a guest blog on Huffington Post, and I’m very pleased to see today that Huffington Post Gay Voices has actually spotlighted our blog – not a mean feat considering it didn’t have to do with marriage or Beyonce! Matter a fact, pretty great considering most LGBT media editorial content is tobacco positive or at least tobacco neutral (Naphtali Offen and others did a great analysis on this). I don’t expect our little blog to get as much attention as the Beyonce ones, but I really appreciate the editors trying to help push it out there.

See the full blog on Huffpo here: Scout, Ph.D.: Time for LGBT Communities to Stop Being Such Easy Targets for the Tobacco Industry

Please please, let’s do our part and try to share this widely!

Netroots Nation · social media

Trends Over The Years in CDC National Disparity Networks Convenings

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Standing room only at this national tobacco disparity network convening!
Standing room only at this national tobacco disparity network convening!

At least once a year CDC Office on Smoking and Health convenes their six funded national disparity networks for a day of updates and brainstorming. These are usually great days, as we all share issues across the different priority populations, and most often, dream up some new great collaborative effort – like when we penned a letter urging better disparity population data collection with the massive new NIH PATH tobacco study, or when we penned a letter urging more integration of disparity population action plans in the big rollout of new health care reform money.

As we’re in our seventh year of running one of CDC’s tobacco disparity networks, I’ve been to at least seven of these so far. As we approach the end of this funding cycle, I’m aware that it’s really likely some of the networks around the table may not succeed in getting the cooperative agreement for the next round of funding — so some of the esteemed colleagues here probably won’t be at the table next time. I certainly hope it’s not us! Frankly I really respect each of our sister networks now, and feel really honored to have worked with them thus far.

So… over the years, what strikes me about these annual meetings?

Look at the picture above. In our meeting now there’s probably room for 45 people around the table, and the people here are literally taking turns coming in and taking seats when it’s their chance to talk with the disparity network reps. In all we might have 60+ folk attending this meeting. There’s the epidemiology team coming to talk about enhancements (we asked for) in data collection, the management team listening to our big picture issues, the legal team updating us on new changed related to policy change and lobbying, the health communications team reporting on the targeted media campaigns (we asked for), and then right now there’s a big media team giving us spokesperson training so we can be ready to help push those targeted tobacco control media campaigns.

Years ago, it was just us, our project officers and maybe the disparity representative from the Office of Smoking and Health. Now, it’s like the disparity networks are a hub in a huge machine. We’re valuable, CDC wants our input, and we need to keep up communications on our many collaborations.

I really give CDC Office on Smoking and Health credit, the input and engagement of disparity networks has really been moved to a more central role in overall operations. Excellent!

 
 
Netroots Nation · social media

Leaders Meet to Brainstorm on the State of Disparities

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Allied disparity leaders meet in SF to brainstorm ideas on moving the disparity arena forward

Just flying back from San Francisco where American Legacy Foundation was nice enough to sponsor a second convening of a tiny group of tobacco control disparities leaders. It was great to be in the room with so many old friends and brilliant minds. And it was great to be candid and bold as we swapped stories; what’s happening in your communities, what’s working, what’s not, what opportunities can use more gas? How worn out are you? And of course the big one, how do we think outside the box about really moving tobacco control disparity work forward?

It became clear that many of us were sharing similar experiences — we were hitting roadblocks that shouldn’t still be hanging around, and we were a bit dubious about the quality of some of the disparity work being conducted. So for a day we got together, took the gloves off and tried to think about joint solutions. Clearly there’s no magic bullet, or else we all would have done it long ago. Disparity work is complicated and messy.

But as gritty as the realities were, this meeting is the exact reason I love working in tobacco control. Where else do you see the leadership of so many different communities of color and LGBT people coming together, across advocacy, expert, and researcher lines to just examine — how can we do better for all of our allied constituencies? Populations experiencing tobacco-related health disparities now comprise over 40% of the country. We can and should challenge ourselves to raise the bar of work on how we work on eliminating these disparities.

Our meeting ideas were just brainstorms, we’ve got a plan to test a few in the next few months, and clearly more people need to be invited to this table. But even though our thinking isn’t ready for primetime yet — know big thinking is afoot, and the true power is that we’re doing it together.

Tell us, what bold thoughts do you have on how to enhance tobacco disparity work?

Netroots Nation · social media

Network Attends White House Trans Day of Remembrance Meeting

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Some of the most amazing leaders I know!

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is never an easy day. It’s sad, hollow, and hard – sometimes doubly so as you see some LGB brothers and sisters blithely go about as if it’s just another day. I woke with the name Malena Suarez on my mind. A few months ago one of my dear friends and a longtime Network ally, Sophia Isabel Marrero Cruz, called to say Ms. Suarez had been found stabbed to death. It’s one in a long line of trans murders Sophia has been working to counter in Puerto Rico and frankly, Sophia’s safety has been compromised because she’s stood up valiantly to call for more protection for these horribly vulnerable women.

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day I take cold stock of my friends and loved ones – and hope fervently we all live to honor another year. It is also the only holiday my trans community has, a bittersweet one, but a truly healing one as well.

This year, I didn’t go to a ceremony for TDOR, I went to the White House to ask for change instead. Thank you to the LGBT liaison at the White House, Gautam Raghavan, for reaching out and inviting dozens of trans leaders in to outline our top priorities for the coming year. Thank you to the head of Office of Personnel Management, John Berry, for leading the meeting in a moment of silence to honor the too many who can’t be here to speak. But the best part about this observance was that then they asked us to tell them what we wanted to see change.

I was frankly very proud of the two-dozen or so community leaders called to the table. You’d have never guessed we only spoke about what might be brought up Friday at 3 pm because we were a well-oiled machine, passing the ball adeptly around the room as one person after another hit the different notes that made up our joint priority list.

What was our top ask? Fixing access to healthcare. We went into issues related to ACA implementation, then I took the ball to emphasize the importance of and steps to routinely including data collection on all surveys. “Look, the federal government collects more data than any other entity in the U.S. but right now the only information you have on the incredible trans health challenges is from outside surveys – this can and should be fixed. We will forever be hamstrung in applying for research on our mental health problems, our high smoking rates, or anything as long as we’re invisible.” I emphasized how the research into measures had yielded several tested models for trans data collection, and we’ll follow up to give them details.

Even though health is our priority, I watched proudly as the meeting rolled into a dozen or so other topics, labor, youth support, contractor non-discrimination, violence (I spoke up again here, talking about Puerto Rico and the dire need for more protections for advocates), and on and on. Clearly, the trans leaders present have been doing detailed constructive work on a huge number of fronts and we had very educated insight into the opportunities to move our issues forward.

Gautam Raghavan, the White House LGBT Liaison, Scout, and John Berry, the Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management, all hold the postcard where individual trans community members laid out their hopes for the future.

As the meeting ended, I was able to go up and present our postcard to them, on which we allowed people from The Fenway Institute’s Trans Day of Remembrance Life Skills event to chime in with their important issues. I’m very pleased we were able to carry the voices of individual trans community members and allies to the White House – but if I’m left with one feeling about the meeting, it’s that the brilliant leaders there did an outstanding job of representing us.

Netroots Nation · social media

Network Heads to AZ for American Indian Rainbow Gathering

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Trudie Jackson. Ok, we admit she’s the only openly trans Navajo on our Steering Committee.

I’m packing my bags today and getting excited because tomorrow I’m an invited speaker to the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering.

Great job to one of our newer Steering Committee members, Ms. Trudie Jackson, for being the Chair of the event. We know from our work with the American Indian tobacco control networks that creating events across tribes can really be an extraordinary challenge. Hat’s off to you Trudie!

Here’s the event press release, feel free to spread, or come out and say hi tomorrow if you’re in Phoenix.

Community organizations serving LGBTQ Native American’s establish a partnership with Aunt Rita’s Foundation to sponsor the second year symposium addressing the needs and supports vital to underserved communities.

Contact Person: Trudie Jackson, Event Chair. Phone: 602-279-5262 EXT 3206
E-mail: TJackson@nachci.com

Phoenix, AZ— The Southwest American Indian RAINBOW Gathering, Circle of Diversity, will take place on October 19-20, 201

2 at Phoenix College located at 1202 W Thomas Road in Phoenix. The Gathering presents keynote speakers and provides community resource and benefit services. It also facilitates current medical and mental health updates and networking opportunities with Healthcare providers and community organizations in the Southwest serving the Native American LGBTQ community. Second day events on October 20 from 9am to 2pm include Youth focused presentations on topics that target the LGBTQ Youth and end with a Native American LGTBQ Youth Panel.

Hosted by a collaboration of community organizations and mental health providers serving the Native American communities in the Southwest, the collaboration in partnership with Aunt Rita’s Foundation are offering a variety of events free of charge to individuals invested in the empowerment and welfare of the LGBTQ Native American community. Keynote speakers will be inclusive in a series of events over three days that will conclude with AIDS Walk Phoenix 2012. Topics range from HIV/AIDS and medical health support to mental health awareness, suicide prevention and LGBT specific issues.

Suicide is a crisis that touches everyone from all backgrounds and has become a great concern for the LGBT community. According to the Center of Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, LGBT youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run, an Aunt Rita’s Foundation event, has been steadily increasing in visibility and in funding raised since its reintroduction in 2008. Infection rates are on the rise, and our communities, especially the Latino and African American community, have experienced alarming increases in the number of people testing positive for HIV. More people need care than ever before, but federal and private funding for medical care and supportive services continues to decline. The lack of HIV education and awareness throughout our community only makes the number of new HIV cases increase. This year at AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run the walkers, runners, pets, and teams are working to exceed the goal for 2012 and raise over $500,000 for 20 member agencies. All individuals can join any of the AIDS Walk teams, create their own team or join the many Native American teams that are associated with this event.

Trudie Jackson, Chair of the Southwest American Indian RAINBOW Gathering says “this valuable opportunity to connect with the Native American LGBTQ community and honor Native American Recognition Days is vital to the health and welfare of the community as a whole”

RJ Shannon, Community Chair of AIDS Walk Phoenix 2012 states “Any opportunity that allows us to support Native brothers and sisters to address health disparities is a moral imperative”

Netroots Nation · social media

Network Member Edits Special LGBTQIA Issue of Journal – Submissions Needed

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

Do you know when Legacy asked us last year for peer reviewed articles on LGBT cessation — we had almost none to suggest? So come one come all and let’s start publishing our work in the peer reviewed literature more!

Here’s a great chance to start – the Journal of Environmental and Public Health is doing a special LGBTQIA issue and our own Dr. Jane McElroy (of longstanding Missouri LGBT tobacco control work) is the lead guest editor. Congratulations Jane! Let’s help her now by flooding them with great papers.

Don’t have any clue how to turn your humble project into a peer reviewed paper? Why not email the LGBT Tobacco Listserv and ask for students or academics who might be interested in helping you translate the real world into academicese? There’s no question, while the outcome may not exactly live by the adage to “eschew otiose obfuscation sedulously” (aka it’ll pack in the $2 words), peer-reviewed literature is given a weight that we just can’t accomplish by any other route.

See full details of the call for papers here. Manuscripts due by Jan 25th, 2013. Only caveat is this is one of the new breed of journals that asks authors to pay ($1k) for an article, but the upside is everyone can access it for free!