Data · LGBT cancer · Research Studies

DO LGBT YOUTH HAVE CANCER DISPARITIES?

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Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network

Do LGBT youth have higher prevalence of cancer than other youth? To be honest, we don’t know. The lack of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) on institutional intake forms across the medical professions has resulted in difficulty ascertaining LGBT health disparities, requiring researchers to establish studies to answer these sorts of questions. SOGI is also not recorded in cancer registries. What we do know is that LGBT adults do have higher cancer rates, and higher prevalence of cancer risk factors, many of which may be traced back to experiences and behaviors that began in adolescents. Recently, the head of the U.S. food and drug administration stated that smoking is a pediatric disease, because the majority of adult smokers started in adolescents and adolescents who reach adulthood without ever having smoked a cigarette have much lower rates of starting cigarette use later in life. I would argue that many LGBT health disparities, including cancer, may be traced to minority stress and behaviors linked to this form of stress as coping mechanisms. In fact one study, Dr. Rosario (who worked on the study) commented “Sexual minorities are at risk for cancer later in life, I suggest, from a host of behaviors that begin relatively early in life,” said Professor Rosario. “No sex or ethnic racial group is at greater risk or protected for these behaviors. Overall, the study underscores the need for early interventions.” (1)

 

Minority stress is a public health theory which explains that stress resulting from discrimination and stigmatization of minority groups affects the individuals health in a number of ways throughout the lifespan. Many studies of minority stress show that LGBT people experience this, which may be further compounded by racial minority status, disability, class or many other stigmatized identities an individual may hold while also being LGBT. Earlier this year a study found that LGB people who live in communities with high levels of anti-LGB prejudice had a 12 year reduction in life expectancy when compared to heterosexual peers in the same community who do not experience discrimination (2). In 2013 other studies found that LGB people who live in states without LGBT protective policies were 5X more likely than those in other states to have 2 or more mental disorders (3) and LGB people who experienced “prejudice-related major life events” were 3x more likely to suffer a serious physical health problem over the next year than people who had not experienced such events regardless of other factors such as age, gender, employment and health history (4).

GSA
How would adult LGBT health change if LGBT youth were supported by their community and schools?

 

So how does this play out for LGBT youth specifically? One study found that, when asked about concerns, heterosexual high school students stated grades and classes as number 1 on their list, with college and careers, and financial pressures related to college or jobs coming second and third, while LGBT students reported more immediate, tangible issues such as non-accepting families, school bullying and fear of being out as their top 3 concerns (in that order) (5). We also know how stigma and discrimination leads to negative mental health outcomes. So, it is no surprise that mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety lead to higher levels of smoking, alcohol consumption, substance abuse and riskier sexual behavior. One study found that LGBT students had higher prevalence in 10 risk categories (these were: behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management) (6). The same study Dr. Rosario commented on earlier found that of “the 12 cancer-risk behaviors included tobacco use, drinking alcohol, early sex, multiple sexual partners, higher body mass index (BMI) and lack of exercise. The report found that for all 12, sexual minorities were more likely than heterosexuals to engage in the risky behavior (1). Other studies have linked psychological distress and LGBT victimization to high smoking prevalences (6).

 

So, while there is limited data on cancer among LGBT youth, it is clear that lifetime stressors related to LGBT status, instilled in adolescence, coupled with unhealthy coping mechanisms, are responsible for increased cancer incidence among LGBT adults. It is my opinion that the roots of these cancers may be traced to experiences of homophobia as a LGBT pediatric health disparity.

 

References:

  1. Rosario, M., Corliss, H. L., Everett, B. G., Reisner, S. L., Austin, S. B., Buchting, F. O., & Birkett, M. (2014). Sexual orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors of tobacco, alcohol, sexual behaviors, and diet and physical activity: pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. American journal of public health, 104(2), 245-254.
  2. Garcia, M. (2014). Study: Antigay communities lead to early LGB  death. Advocate.com. Retrieved fromhttp://www.advocate.com/health/2014/02/16/study-antigay-communities-lead-early-lgb-death
  3. Haas AP, Eliason M, Mays VM, et al. Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: review and recommendations. Journal of homosexuality. 2011;58(1):10-51.
  4. Durso, L. E., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Patterns and predictors of disclosure of sexual orientation to healthcare providers among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10(1), 35-42.
  5. GROWING UP LGBT IN AMERICA (HRC). (2012) http://www.hrc.org/youth
  6. 6.Kann, L., O’Malley Olsen, E., McManus, T., Kinchen, S., Chyen, D., Harris, W. A., & Wechsler, H. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors among Students in Grades 9-12–Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Early Release. Volume 60. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · IOM · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship · Updates

#BWLGBTI Day 3 Part 2: Community-based research is still important

dwayne

 

 

Dwayne Steward

LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

 

 

We’ve come to the end of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University. This has been a very life-changing experience, for which I am truly grateful. Being in the room with so many experts that have and are currently making groundbreaking changes in the country, and around the world, regarding the inclusion of LGBTI communities in health research has been phenomenal. I can’t thank the Network for LGBT Health Equity enough for this amazing opportunity.

Jacob Nash
Jacob Nash

The conference began it’s last half with two lively panel discussions. The first was “Community Perspectives Regarding LGBTI Health” featuring Jacob Nash (transgender activist and director of Margie’s Hope), Alana Jochum (Equality Ohio’s Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinator) and Maya Simek (program director for The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland). Jochum made some very interesting points regarding how LGBTI health research has made historic advances in LGBTI rights possible. She referenced several court cases that have used the statistics compiled by researchers, several in the room, in major courtroom arguments for marriage equality. Her examples helped further illustrate the need for the work of those attending the conference. Nash and Simek put out calls to researchers for more specified research studies on marginalized populations and offered insights on the health issues they’re seeing among marginalized populations. They both reiterated the need for more collaboration between activists and health researchers.

The conference officially ended with “LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” with a very dynamic panel of LGBTI health community organizers from Latin America and India.

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“LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” Panel

Wendy Castillo, a community organizer from El Salvador who has done work providing safe spaces for lesbian and transgender women, spoke at length about the tragic murders that continue take the lives of transgender women regularly in El Salvodor and the struggles organizations there face with trying to keep transgender women safe. Daniel Armando Calderon and Alejandro Rodriguez, both community organizers around issues facing the MSM community in Columbia, discussed how they try to decrease barriers for “heterosexual MSM’ and other special populations needing HIV care and other health services.

Vivek Anand, of Humsafar Trust, closed out the conference with more detail regarding his efforts regarding the recent re-criminalization of homosexuality in India. His organization has courageously come to the forefront of attacking this law that was passed by the country’s Supreme Court after massive efforts from religious leaders. I thinks it quite admirable that the work he’s doing is heralding and sometimes dangerous, but he faces it head on with an upbeat attitude. He ended his presentation with a video of Gaysi‘s (an LGBT advocacy organization in Mumbai) #notgoingback campaign, one of the efforts to build awareness and garner support for repealing the law. The upbeat video, featuring Pharrell Williams’ massive hit song “Happy,” is a perfect representation of Anand’s bubbly activist spirit.

And thus we end our time together my friends. Please always remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that I used to start this blog series, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let’s never end this very important conversation!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · LGBT Policy · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship

#BWLBGTI Day 2 Post-Lunch: Revisiting sexual health

dwayne

Dwayne Steward 
LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

After lunch at day 2 of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace is all about sexual health. Historically this would have been the bulk of such a conference as this. As most of us know, pathology-focused research on homosexuality and gender diversity, along with the stigma associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic forced LGBTI healthcare into a sexual health box for many years. It’s interesting to see that the pendulum is swinging back the other way in some ways as we as LGBTI healthcare workers/researchers are now having to convince certain communities that sexual health is still an important factor of the LGBTI health experience.

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Dr. Anthony Silvestre, professor of Infectious Disease and Microbiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, opened with a lunch-time keynote on the history of sexual health research, reminding us how far we’ve come regarding the study of sex and sexuality in this country. He than joined Dr. Brian Dodge, Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health, for the “LGBTI Health Training” seminar track, which included a lively discussion on the changing landscape of HIV and intersectionality in public health research.

There was definitely a lot of talk about training program models in Indiana and Pennsylvania, but through the lens of sexual health research. Dr. Silvestre spoke on University of Pittsburgh’s LGBT health certificate program along with several other LGBT-focused specialized programs the university offers, including a post-doctorate program that specialized in MSM (men who have sex with men) healthcare.

Dr. Dodge made several interesting conjectures about the study of sexual health saying, much of the conversation regarding sexual health has been risk based. “We need to be including more about the actual pleasure of sex and begin taking a more sex-positive approach. It is okay for gay sex to be enjoyable,” he said. He went on to say that programs should take a more competency-based approach to better prepare students for their post-college endeavors.

My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).
My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).

Dr. Francisco Sy, director of the Office of Community-Based Participatory Research and Collaboration at the NIH/National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), took a moment to educate the audience on the NIH grant process and how to best navigate their grant application process. But the day’s real winner was Dr. Erin Wilson’s presentation, “HIV Among Trans-Female Youth: What We Now Know and Directions for Research and Prevention.” Dr. Wilson, who is a former NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipient and research scientist currently with the AIDS Office at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, quickly (due to time constraints) spoke on her ground-breaking NIH-funded research on the social determinants of health that led to high HIV-infection rates for transgender female youth in Los Angeles.

The statistics Dr. Wilson reported were pretty staggering. She prefaced much of her presentation by saying her studies were very specific to L.A. and she had no research to show that this was reflective of the national transgender female population. She reported finding that transgender females in L.A. were 34 times more likely to contact HIV than the general population and at the time of her study nearly 70 percent of transgender female youth in L.A. participated in sex work. As a result of her work The SHINE Study was created, the first longitudinal study of trans*female youth that still continues today. Though nearly 40 percent of transgender females in L.A. are living with HIV only 5 percent are youth. “We have a great opportunity to get ahead of this disparity and create some real change,” she said.

That’s all for today my friends. Check back tomorrow for a full report on Day 3 of the Baldwin Wallace University LGBTI Health Research Conference (#BWLGBTI)!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources

Baldwin Wallace presenting first LGBTI health conference with class

dwayne

Dwayne Steward
LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” It’s become a mantra I’ve come to live by. It is the starting of and building upon conversations that matter that truly leads to change. This mantra is even more present as I head into the LGBTI Health Research Conference today though Saturday at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

BWU-newSign

As the LGBTQ Health Advocate for the City of Columbus in Ohio, a seasoned journalist and full-time activist, I often find myself in the midst of important conversations. Conversations about improving the health of gender and sexually diverse communities, and how we can increase access to care for deeply marginalized populations. I was hired by the city just over a year ago to create the Columbus Public Health LGBTQ Health Initiative and in our first year we’ve already made massive impact with the development of our Ohio LGBTQ Youth Safety Summit, implementation of citywide healthcare provider-focused LGBTQ cultural competency training and the creation of a robust community engagement platform, just to name a few. To say LGBTQI healthcare is a passion of mine would be a gross understatement.

The LGBTI Health Research Conference will be an excellent opportunity to bring the best minds in the field together around the healthcare issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex populations, which I hope will lead to helping decrease health disparities of LGBTI individuals in places like my Midwestern hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

“It is hard to download all that is known about LGBT health in a day and a half, but we are really interested in getting people together to build connections that will hopefully lead to building more work towards LGBT healthcare,” said Dr. Emilia Lombardi during a phone interview leading up to the conference. Dr. Lombardi is an Assistant Professor within Baldwin Wallace University’s Department of Public Health and one of the conference’s lead organizers.

Dr. Lombardi went on to tell me she’s been working with supporters such as Cleveland State University and MetroHealth Medical Center for more than a year to bring the university’s first conference focused on LGBTI health to fruition. Prestigious presenters from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, The National LGBT Health Education Center and Fenway Health are just a few of the organizations presented on the schedule.

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Dr. Lombardi said the Institute of Medicine’s groundbreaking 2011 report, “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding,” (commissioned by the National Institutes of Health) was a major step by the federal government that led to the creation of the conference.

“NIH asked the Institute of Medicine to bring together experts in LGBT health to discuss the need,” she said. “The NIH has even put forth a new effort to support more LGBT-related health research. It’s very encouraging to know that our federal government supports us.”

I arrived in Cleveland to a beautiful reception at MetroHealth with a keynote by the health institution’s CEO,  Dr. Akram Boutros, which is no surprise as MetroHealth has housed one of the nation’s leading LGBT health clinics for nearly a decade. Though I’m definitely impressed by the high-caliber of speakers BW was able to procure for their first LGBT health conference. I’m looking forward to an unprecedented weekend of immersion into the health research of LGBTI communities. (With maybe a little Gay Games fun as a side bonus.) Continue to check this blog for more coverage of the conference from me and a few colleagues as this amazing weekend continues!

Action Alerts · Conferences · Data · Research Studies

Reportout from NIH’s 1st LGBTI Listening Session

Scout

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

Sometimes you have throwaway days, then sometimes you have really high impact ones, right? Well, today was about as high impact as it gets. Myself and others have been nudging NIH to open communications with LGBTI researchers for years and today I had the distinct pleasure of being in the room as they launched their first ever LGBTI research listening session. Considering the agency has about $30 billion dollars in research funds, and considering they are easily the leading health research institution in the world, I’d say anytime we get to talk LGBTI health with the top mgmt for an hour and a half is pretty useful. Understand, many LGBTI researchers never even get to speak to these folk once. We got to sit there and yak and yak about what our experiences as researchers and advocates leads us to prioritize. And we heard there were over a hundred more watching and sending in comments on the videocast.

The day held a few pleasant surprises too.

  1. First, NIH hired a new guy who’s in charge of getting more LGBTI staff on board, Albert Smith. Literally his business card reads “LGBTI Program Manager” at NIH. Pretty sweet eh? Since we know how internal champions really move issues, now’s the time for us to recruit great new folk to NIH. (see info about working there here)
  2. Second, NIH just added gender identity to their nondiscrimination protections, w00t!
  3. Third, NIH really showed their commitment to keeping the information flowing by announcing that they had just released an RFI, or Request For Information. This literally declares it open season for all of us to give our input on LGBTI health research from now til late October. See the RFI here.
NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, their new LGBTI Program Manager Arnold Smith, and Scout
NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, their new LGBTI Program Manager Albert! Smith, and Scout

Of course everyone there brought up excellent suggestions: invest in career development; collect data; designate LGBTI as a legal disparity population (or at least tell us where the bar’s set to achieve that designation); create an office of LGBTI health; fund more tobacco research; recruit reviewers educated in these topics; do more on Two Spirit, intersex, transgender people; look at intersectionality more; put out anal cancer guidelines, and on. If you weren’t one of the hundred plus watching online… they’ll put the full webcast up in a few days, and we’ll update this post with the link.

OK, time for all of us to sharpen our pens. Because in my mind it’s like if you don’t vote in an election, you lose the chance to grouse. When there’s this big and broad a call for us to say what is needed in LGBTI health, we all should speak up now or forever hold our peace, right?

In case people are looking for ideas to suggest, we’ll share our input – as soon as we think it up!

Conferences · Data · LGBT Policy · Research Studies · Resources · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy

Brainstorming on New LGBT Health Research Textbook

Scout

Scout, Ph.D.
Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
IMG_20130622_110818_964
L to R: Jose Bauermeister, Deo Kavalieratos, Derrick Matthews, Deo Kavalieratos, Nina Markovic, Sherri Mosovsky, Jessica White, John Blosnich.

I’ve had the pleasure for the last few days to be brainstorming with a bunch of other LGBT scientists at the very top of a crazy beautiful building at University of Pittsburgh, their Cathedral of Learning. Our host is Dr. Ron Stall and all the other members of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt. I always love hanging out with a herd of pointy-headed folk, and this group is as pointy as it gets. The ideas are challenging, interesting, and always thought provoking. As the headline gave away, we’re brainstorming on what we’re fondly calling: “A love letter to future generations of LGBT health researchers” aka a textbook on how to do LGBT health research. Thanks to Ron & everyone at Pitt for convening us and shepherding this idea, because I feel like the longer we talk about what we really want the next generation to know, the more we realize how much there is to tell them. How to get LGBT measures added to surveillance instruments. How to make sure studies funding for one topic (say, oh HIV) create findings on other health priorities (like oh say, smoking!). How to disseminate research findings not just to elite academic journals, but also to communities. I’m happy to say some of our experiences with tobacco policy change will be highlighted as examples in the book. Actually, we’ve been talking tobacco a lot, no doubt because some of the amazing leaders on tobacco research happen to be sitting right here. So, here’s the pop quiz, look at the pictures to the right, I can identify at least five who are important to tobacco and/or have directly collaborated with the Network. Any idea who some of these stars are? Answers below.

(L to R) Ron stall, Tony Silvestre, Robert Coulter, Amy Herrick
(R to L) Ron Stall, Tony Silvestre, Robert Coulter, Amy Herrick, Jade Coley.

Tobacco hotshots:

Ron Stall has done some of the earlier full probability sampling on gay men and tobacco rates, he likely broke the news about our tobacco disparity, I think his first studies were from the 80s.

Robert Coulter recently volunteered to do something we’d been wanting sorely, an analysis of NIH’s LGBT research (to help us identify gaps). Look for it soon in AJPH!

Jose Bauermeister just presented at NCI on his great lesbian smoking study going on out of UMich, I want to recruit him into doing lots more tobacco research.

Derrick Matthews was one of a few who brought the Network down to U North Carolina Health Disparity Conference a year ago, where we presented our LGBT cultural competency & tobacco training to our largest ever audience of avid listeners.

And this was a trick one, John Blosnich, only shown from the back, is one of our brand new hotshots in tobacco, he’s only a year or so beyond his PhD – but he’s got a cluster of key articles in the peer literature on LGBT tobacco already.

Data · Presentations · Puerto Rico · Research Studies · Uncategorized

No hay salud sin salud sexual = There is no health without sexual health

In San Juan, Puerto Rico

By Juan Carlos Vega
Blogging for the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico
and the CDC-funded LGBT and Latino National Disparities Networks

 

During this morning plenary session at the VI International Congress of Health Promoting Universities and the IV Public Health Conference of Puerto Rico (http://ivconferenciasp.rcm.upr.edu/home.html), newly elected and LGBTT friendly San Juan Mayor, Mrs. Carmen Yulín Cruz, stated that we can not achieve health without sexual health and education.Image

Dr. Carlos Rodríguez from the Medical Science Campus at the UPR opened his concurrent session stating that sexual health is much more than STD’s and HIV/AIDS.  Comprehensive health has to fully integrate sexual education, especially Puerto Rico’s public schools health education programs.  They have been non-existent for the last ten years.  So now, we have a generation of young parents with low sexual education levels.  Media mostly focuses on high HIV/AIDS and STD’s statistics, yet important aspects like these are not taken into consideration in the public health context.

Sexoplorando, a study on sexual health in Puerto Rico, included a trans sample and representation from 71 of 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico.  Email salud.sexual@upr.edu for more details on this study.

Conferences · Data · Puerto Rico · Research Studies

LGBTT Health sessions during the IV Public health conference in Puerto Rico

In San Juan, Puerto Rico
 
By Juan Carlos Vega 
Blogging for the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico
and the CDC-funded LGBT and Latino National Disparities Networks
 
 
 

Today is our last day attending the VI International Congress of Health Promoting Universities and the IV Public Health Conference of Puerto Rico in the Puerto Rico Convention Center.  We are forever grateful to the National Latino Tobacco Control Network for sponsoring our participation in this event.

From a quick glance at the Agenda, we identified an LGBTT health related session during each of the concurrent times the first two days of the conference.  The majority are proposals from Puerto Rico, including a 3-day forum on sexual health, which presents research and realities regarding LGBTI health in Puerto Rico.  This means that it doesn’t matter if the government, society, and religion don’t recognize our communities, we are still out of the closet.  And there is data to prove it!

Among the research presented included issues like gender construction as a social determinant of health and its effects in the trans communities of Puerto Rico, which had Trans Women and Trans Men data samples.  Another presentation had research student, Yesarel Pesante, present an analysis of homosexual couples from 2005 to 2009 Census data from Puerto Rico.  Finally, poster presentations included research on same sex behaviors and its relationship with sexual and health related practices among a sample of women in Puerto Rico.

As part of the events, the Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico with theImage sponsorship of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture hosted an Art Festival, a full track of sessions discussing health promotion through the arts.  This event includes photo-based artist and Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, Nick Kline, who presents and exhibits his work.  In the series, Hate crimes in Puerto Rico, he features his work with local trans advocates in order to visualize their leaderships towards social change.  Health care professionals and medical students should experience health promotion thru art expression and interpretation as part of their studies in order to build sensibilities otherwise not acquired during their years of studies.

It is important to note, the presence that the Fenway Institute had during the conference in addition to the Network for LGBT Health Equity.  Mr. Harvey Makadon from the The National Center for LGBT Health Education who presented on LGBT issues, announced an upcoming webinar on LGBT health in Spanish with local UPR Professors, Dr. Carmen M. Velez Vega and Dr. Carlos Rodriguez Díaz.  The Webinar titled Calidad de cuidado para lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgéneros y transexuales: Eliminando la invisibilidad y las disparidades will take place on Thursday, April 4 starting at 2:00 PM EST and will discuss the unique health needs of LGBT people and the recommended ways to address those needs in.

Funding · IOM · Research Studies

NIH Issues Long-Awaited & Detailed Response to IOM LGBT Report

Scout

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

Back in June we circulated a quote from the Deputy Director at National Institutes of Health, Dr. Tabak, about their new LGBT health research priorities (see the picture). We knew these priorities were the result of their ongoing work responding to the Institute of Medicine report on LGBT health they commissioned earlier. Today we now see the full scale of the work NIH has been doing to respond to the specific recommendations laid out by the IOM. Make no mistake, this is a milestone in LGBT health.

We’ll be doing a deeper analysis of this report in time, but today as the report is first released I want to just highlight a few of the biggest takeaways.

1. There are many substantive issues to be pleased about. The report provides insight and plans around a large number of important areas. As just a few examples: there’s a strong call for more data collection, a smart analysis of the need for and best strategies for career development resources, and an emphasis on specific underserved populations such as transgender people, among others.

2. The lack of tobacco research is highlighted. In the year of LGBT research they analyzed, only 1.4% of the portfolio addressed smoking and health. This is a decided contrast to the mounting evidence that smoking is likely to be our top health burden as a set of communities. To quote the first paragraph of the summary of findings, from the very first page of the report: “There appears to be relatively little research in several key health areas for LGBT populations including the impact of smoking on health, depression, suicide, cancer, aging, obesity, and alcoholism.”

3. It is very gratifying that this report is getting top flight attention at NIH. White papers without leadership support can collect dust very fast. It’s excellent to see that this report was released with a preface by the head of NIH, Dr. Frances Collins. This sends a signal internally and externally that this report is not to be ignored.

Great job NIH!

Read the official Fenway response here. And read all of NIH’s releases today at the links below.

LGBT Policy · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy

Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities: A journey through this valuable report

As I am sure you are aware on Tuesday Legacy released a new report: Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities. This report is another to hit the national stage to address the growing concern of tobacco use and the affect it has on LGBT people. The layout of this report is quite nice, first addressing Legacy’s role in the movement, but more importantly highlighting the prevalence rates, and the fact data collection efforts needs to continue so we can monitor tobacco use in our communities.fthfthutyu

While there are a lot of numbers folks who appreciate the data, sometimes the data does not truly share the full story. The report has a great section, Behind the Numbers: Tobacco and LGBT Communities. Which paints the story of why tobacco use is and continues to be an issues among our communities. It looks at Social Stigma and Smoking, the Bar and Club Culture, addressing health care disparities and the lack of access to health care our communities face. In addition they showcase tobacco industry targeting, and how smoking is normalized in our community in such a way that it has truly infiltrated our lives and LGBT culture overall. Additionally it goes in to the efforts the tobacco industry took in co-opting our community, and how tobacco companies were characterized as pioneers who stood in solidarity with our communities which is such a fascinating read.

We all know that there is a long standing history of LGBT people and tobacco. The report addresses some key points on what needs to be done moving forward with a set of actions public health and tobacco control organizations can take to counter tobacco in our communities:

  • Engage directly with the LGBT community to offer cessation and prevention services that are culturally competent.
  • Include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in population-based studies and surveys of health status.
  • Develop better and more standardized questions about sexual orientation and gender identity so a better picture of LGBT populations can be drawn.
  • Conduct longitudinal cohort studies, which follow participants over long periods of time.
  • Include, at all levels, LGBT people in mainstream tobacco control efforts.
  • Develop tobacco control media campaigns targeting LGBT communities.
  • Help LGBT communities and organizations find alternatives to tobacco industry funding.
  • Include LGBT youth in all levels of tobacco control efforts.
  • Ensure that the leadership of LGBT tobacco control efforts represents all LGBT communities, including traditionally disenfranchised segments such as transgender people, lesbian and bisexual women, people of color, LGBT youth, and LGBT people of lower socioeconomic status.

In the second part of this report it showcases four case studies of past legacy grantees. Leave no Funds Behind, which was a project the Network created working on Bridging the Gap Between LGBT Organizations and Tobacco Control Funding. As well as, Delicious Lesbian Kisses: A Social Marketing Campaign with Staying Power, Crush: The LGBT Lifestyle Project, and 30 Seconds: Helping Health Care Providers Reach LGBT Tobacco Users were all highlighted.

I highly recommend you take a look at this report, and share both the report and the factsheet created by legacy:

Tobacco Control In LGBT Communities Report

Tobacco Fact Sheet: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (Lgbt) communities and smoking