Pride · social media · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized

New Tips From Former Smokers Ad Features Effects of Tobacco & HIV

BioPic b&w

     Felecia King

    Project Specialist

   The Network for LGBT Health Equity


This week, the CDC launched the next phase of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign, and this time they are tackling the issue of tobacco and HIV. The ad features Brian, who smoked for 30 years, and suffered a stroke as a complication of his HIV and tobacco use. (read more about Brian’s story HERE)

Smoking is especially harmful to people who are living with HIV. For example, smokers with HIV:

  • Are at higher risk than non-smokers with HIV of developing lung cancer, head and neck cancers, cervical and anal cancers, and other cancers;
  • Are more likely than non-smokers with HIV to develop bacterial pneumonia, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), COPD, and heart disease;
  • Are more likely than non-smokers with HIV to develop two conditions that affect the mouth: oral candidiasis (thrush) and oral hairy leukoplakia; and
  • Have a poorer response to antiretroviral therapy.
  • People with HIV who smoke are also less likely to keep to their HIV treatment plan and have a greater likelihood of developing an AIDS-defining condition and dying earlier than non-smokers with HIV.

(the above examples are from <– Click the link for more info!)

For these reasons, smoking is a significant health issue for all individuals, but it is even more of a concern for people living with HIV, who tend to smoke more than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 19% of adults in the United States are smokers. However, the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive.



Conferences · Philly Trans health conference · social media · Staff/Program Updates

Philly the City of Trans Love

Pride Center Staff Photo
Philly the City of Trans Love
Bishop S.F. Makalani-MaHee




The moment I got off the plane I felt it.   While I was waiting for the shuttle bus to take me to my hotel in downtown Philly another transman just looks at me and extends a brotherly greeting , and we end up on the same shuttle bus sharing and laughing the whole ride into the city.   This is the start of trans wholeness and wellness the ability to search each other out, recognize each other, and to be willing to extend ourselves to one another.

Walking through the doors of Philly Trans Health Conference all you could feel is the energy of connection, and more importantly the empowerment  of possibilities that comes from our  interconnectedness.  What I am seeing here at Philly Trans Health is a sea of recruits enlisting in an army for social justice daring to explore the possibilities of being conscious objectors to assigned gender conformity.

This City has long been known amongst African-Americans as “The City of Brotherly Love”, but from the second I got off the plane and connected with my trans brother all I have been feeling is the trans love in the City.  A love that sees, values, affirms, and yes even trans-forms every individual here. Because of the love in this place those who have been invisible become visible, and those who have been silenced find their voice; our nurtures /wise women in the room sound the trumpet and #JusticeForJane  is our call to action

From this birth place of independence we dare to affirm ourselves and each other, and vision a state of being that experiences more struggle for the generations to come after us because we will have created a world where human beings will truly be judged by the content of their character and they will not know a world of gender restriction.  Just as the gathering in this city liberated a country, and changed the world the demand for representation and equality for all citizens is as loud today as it was then; and our boldness will once again change the world.

Continue To Walk In The Light, Redefine Your Faith, and Remember It’s All The Rhythm.

#lgbt hlth equity  #philly trans health


Action Alerts · Conferences · Netroots Nation · Presentations · social media

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN…and win prizes!

Our very own Dr. Scout may be coming to a town near you! Dr. Scout will be out and about over the next few months; leading cultural competency trainings in many states, speaking on an all Trans pride panel, in Philly at the Trans Health Conference , co-writing an LGBT Health Research Textbook, at the Netroots Nation Conference and many other places.

So, over the next few months, if you happen to see Dr. Scout, take a picture with him and post it to your (and your organization’s) Twitter and Facebook page! And, when you post your picture, we will send you a free gift!

Here are the rules:

  1. Take the perfect selfie with Dr. Scout
  2. Post the picture to Facebook and/or Twitter
    1. If you are posting to Facebook make sure to tag us (@The Network for LGBT Health Equity) in your post.
    2. If you are posting on Twitter make sure to tag us in your Tweet (@lgbthlthequity)
    3. Also please use the #’s:
  1. Once you have posted we will send you a direct message (Twitter) or message (Facebook) to get your mailing information and send you some sweet swag!


Now that you have your rules, here’s the list of events to catch Dr.Scout:

June 10: DC to NIH speaking on a pride panel

June 12-13: Philly for TransCon

June 14-15: Pittsburgh Author Meeting on LGBT Health Research Textbook

June 16-20: Denver – National Jewish Hospital for quit line staff

July 10-14: San Diego Phoenix Group cross-disparities meeting

July 15-20: Detroit for Netroots Nation Conference 2014

July TBD: St. Louis


Congrats To Two of Our Winners Charles and Kira

Catch Charlie

   catch Kara

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Here are some examples of the swag we will send you!)

lady t-vneck

 t-shirt men









social media

Passing the Skinny, Young, Good-Looking Guys


As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at:

As I travel around the country for the Network for LGBT Health Equity, I get to hear the greatest stories from people. I heard a local newspaper profiled Robert Boo’s incredible wellness story, so I asked him to tell me more.

It all started with the Smart Ride, a 165-mile bike ride that raises money for HIV/AIDS. Robert Boo is the Chief Executive Officer of The Pride Center, Ft. Lauderdale’s LGBT community center, so he was crewing for the event.

People tried to get me to ride the first year and I was like ‘Are you crazy?’ But then I’m driving the van and I’m seeing all these people who were older and more physically challenged than I am so I thought, ‘there goes my excuse.’ Then as I watched all these people cross the finish line. It was so emotional I was crying; I wanted to do it.

“One of my board members does triathlons, he saw I was interested and next thing you know he’s taking me out to shop for all this gear.” Robert laughs, “I looked like a stuffed sausage in my lycra.” Had he even ridden a bike recently? “Oh I used to have one, but I was tired of using it to dry clothes, so I gave it away.”

So Robert started training with the other riders, and eventually he got rid of the shirt and shorts he was wearing on top of his lycra. “Come to find out I loved the riding, I loved everything about it. And it turns out I was really good. Here were all these really skinny, young, good-looking guys in their biker shorts looking all pretty. And I was all sweaty and gross-looking but I could go faster than them.”

Robert was riding every weekend, making new friends, slowly building his mileage up to 150 miles a week of riding. “I got hooked into it and then the weight just started coming off. I modified my diet a bit too and over the course of eight months I lost 75 pounds. People couldn’t believe it, it was a whole new me.” I asked him if he’d ever imagined losing that much weight. “No, I’d tried before of course, but I just came to terms with being ‘big boned.’ So now it’s wild.”

Then the day of the big ride came. This time Robert wasn’t behind a wheel, he was out there with everyone else raising money for The Pride Center and it felt great. “It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, but on the first day out of 480 riders I came in 30th. And I’m an HIV positive 53-year-old!” he adds. “It was wonderful, I felt like I could have ridden the whole 165 miles that day.” When he crossed the finish line the second day he was crying again, but this time for intensely personal reasons, “I never expected how much it would change my life.”

It’s been a year since that fateful ride; one of the things Robert didn’t expect is how much of an impact his journey would have on everyone else around him. “So many people come up to me and say I inspired them to start training and working on their own health.” Knowing that he’s become a role model for others helps Robert too, “I know I have to keep the weight off, so I’m swimming several times a week. People tell me they could never do it but I just say ‘seriously if I can do it, anyone can.’ There’s nothing special; I hate going to the gym but I like being outside so that’s why cycling worked for me.”

The Pride Center offers senior wellness classes several days a week, Robert used to go by the classes as he gave tours and they’d always beg him to come in, now he happily jokes they’re not working hard enough. “They’re almost religious about those classes, I love seeing that enthusiasm.” The Pride Center also offers a LGBT health directory of welcoming doctors and runs cancer support groups in conjunction with the local Gilda’s club chapter.

Robert finds himself the unofficial mascot of wellness at the Pride Center but is more than pleased he’s in that role. For him the ride was the beginning of a lifetime commitment and all the people he’s inspired are in turn inspiring him to new heights. As we end the interview his face breaks into a big grin, “I even just competed in my first triathlon. Bucket list: check!”

social media

Sia Inspires Me to Be a Healthier Trans Person

An Evening With Women Benefiting The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center - Red Carpet

There’s something oddly intimate about a person’s exercise playlist. If you’re like me and hear the same songs every day for 30 minutes to an hour of sweating, the playlist takes on its own life. Memories of pushing, sweating, and endorphins get laid on top of each track like delicious frosting. But these are popular singers, so you may like the music, but you rarely have a personal connection to the performers.

So imagine my surprise when I realized that several of my treasured workout songs are sung by a woman I first met at a meeting to plan a trans visibility action. At first I was disbelieving. I knew that their names are the same, but I told myself that the Sia who sings “Titanium” and the Sia I first met on that grassy hillside must be different people. My daughter finally convinced me that they are one and the same.

My most pronounced reaction was incredulity: She supports us! I already respected her for taking a leadership role in such a beautiful and strong visibility action, but now, knowing the pressures of the heady professional world she travels in only increased my respect tenfold.

Every day, as I ran, swam, or cycled further, it was like I had a friend encouraging me every time a song of hers came on. But when I thought further about the situation, I realized that the other side of the story was the really sad part: My incredulity at Sia being willing to stand up and support trans people showed how much I had internalized the norm that most celebrities would not stand up for my rights. They would not be moved nearly to tears thinking about the daily threats of violence that some trans people endure, or the staggering lack of safety that so many trans youth face as they try to survive. For every Lady Gaga, for every Sia, there are hundreds of celebrities who could use their potential to influence public opinion in our favor, yet they stay quiet. As we always teach in our cultural competency trainings, considering our history of discrimination, until you prove you’re a friend, we have no way of knowing you’re not an enemy.

Sia’s far from an enemy. She’s unabashedly one of us, publicly proclaiming her bisexuality. “I’ve always dated boys and girls and anything in between,” she’s said. “I don’t care what gender you are, it’s about people.” I know that a few other singers have said similar things, but I also know of many, many more who have worked very hard to hide any LGBT tendencies. Actions send messages, and the negative ones are still much more frequent than the positive ones.

Now I follow Sia stories with particular interest. I was fascinated to read of her effortsto keep her pictures out of the media, in what was a cogent analysis of the false promise of widespread fame. I also heard with concern how her own health issues led her to consider retiring from singing forever.

Every day, as I push myself to become stronger, as I chase the wonderful endorphins that help calm and center me for a world whose winds too often blow cold for trans people, I have a visit from a friend as Sia’s songs come on. Sia has inspired me to become a healthier trans person. I’d love to be able to return the favor in person, but until then I can only hope that Sia is taking good care of herself too.

Follow Scout, Ph.D. on Twitter:

Conferences · social media · Summit · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized · White House

We’re working toward a tobacco-free future for LGBT communities!

Here at the National LGBT Cancer Network Summit in NYC, we wanted to get in on the Surgeon General Report excitement! #SGR50photo

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Netroots Nation · social media

All Hands on Deck: 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report Out Tomorrow!


Scout, Ph.D.
Director, CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

It’s a crazy week here at the Network for LGBT Health Equity… not only are we dashing off to the start of the Cancer Network’s historic first National LGBT Cancer Summit, but we’ve been hustling like mad to get ready for one of the biggest tobacco events in our era — the release of the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco & Health. They were even supposed to release it today, but at the last minute they moved the event to tomorrow — AT THE WHITE HOUSE. Hmm, I. wonder. why. that. could. be??Screenshot 2014-01-16 08.17.01

Remember, everyone can watch the official launch tomorrow at We’ll have our dear Bill Blatt in the audience directly reporting all the behind the scenes action on the blog. And watch for #SGR50 on Twitter. And don’t worry — we don’t know what exactly is in the report but LGBT is definitely there! Other than that, all they’ve told us is the report will expand the circle of what’s affected by tobacco.

But the fun doesn’t stop there… all our work this week has been to create LGBT specific materials, so look for our infographic on 50 years of LGBT tobacco history to debut by tomorrow, and a press release too. We’ve got some pretty big drama numbers in there, so far all the advance reviewers have had one response… “Wow!” So… stay tuned and be sure to be part of the team sharing it widely!!!

Netroots Nation · social media

Press Release — New Study of NIH Research Shows Only 0.5% of Portfolio Mentions LGBT


Scout, Ph.D.
Director, Centerlink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity


DECEMBER 17, 2013

Contact: Scout, Ph.D.
Telephone: 401-267-8337


82% of LGBT Studies Focus on HIV or Sexual Health

Ft. Lauderdale, FL December 17, 2013–  American Journal of Public Health just released a preview of a study highlighting the national gaps in LGBT health research. The study, “Research Funded by the National Institutes of Health on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations” by Coulter, Kenst, Bowen, and Scout, analyzes the prevalence of projects that make any mention of LGBT-related terms in National Institutes of Health (NIH) extramural research abstracts from 1989 through 2011. Findings show only 0.5% of the abstracts have any mention of LGBT terms, of that small number, only 18% are on topics beyond sexual health or HIV.Screenshot 2013-12-17 17.58.27

“In 2011 we saw the Institute of Medicine report calling for more LGBT research, then we saw a Science magazine article showing how investigators of color were less likely to get their research proposals funded. We know LGBT investigators have experienced similar stigma. This study was our best possible attempt at showing where LGBT research and investigators stand at NIH right now,” said Robert Coulter, the lead author, “To no one’s surprise, the big picture shows big problems.”

“What is perhaps most disturbing,” comments Dr. Scout, the senior author “is the relative lack of growth in research about non-sexual health issues over the decades. For example, tobacco kills more LGBT people than any other health issue, yet we found very few studies on tobacco. The top line takeaway is that we need more research on all topics, and especially more about our leading health problems. If all studies routinely collected LGBT demographic data, as was recommended by the Institute of Medicine report, our knowledge on LGBT health disparities would mushroom.” According to the paper, of the 127k studies analyzed, “Health care services, homophobia, violence, homelessness, tobacco use, and obesity were each addressed in fewer than 25 studies.”

There were other obvious gaps in the research portfolio as well, only 43 of 127k studies examined transgender health issues. Of the 628 total LGBT studies, only 14% examined lesbian health issues, only 10% mentioned youth health issues, and less than 1% mentioned LGBT elder health issues. The types of studies funded were also unevenly distributed. “We only found 21 LGBT intervention studies that weren’t about sexual health,” said Coulter. “Intervention studies examine solutions to health problems; clearly we need more intervention studies to focus on or at very least consider LGBT health issues.”

NIH has been showing signs of moving to rectify these gaps in recent years. In early 2013 they released an action plan identifying high priority areas for further Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) research. In June of this year they held the first LGBTI expert input forum, where community experts were able to present many of these problems directly to the Director and the Deputy Director. Since that time, their LGBTI liaison, Dr. Rashada Alexander, has been working with the LGBTI Research Coordinating Committee to conduct additional expert listening sessions. “There is definitely movement and that’s very exciting,” notes Dr. Scout, “but we have decades of being left out. It’ll take systems change of the highest order to ensure that some year soon, when NIH invests their tens of billions of dollars on health research, LGBTI projects are an equitable part of that portfolio and all investigators know to collect LGBTI data routinely in their demographic batteries.”

# # #

CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers.  Serving over 200 LGBT community centers across the country in 46 states and the District of Columbia, as well as centers in Canada, Israel, Mexico, China, Italy and Australia, the organization plays an important role in supporting the growth of LGBT centers and addressing the challenges they face, by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity and increase access to public resources. (

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by eliminating tobacco use, and enhancing diet and exercise. The Network directly trains state health departments and other policymakers in LGBT cultural competency and forges bridges between those agencies and local LGBT health specialists. The Network also actively educates policymakers about opportunities to enhance LGBT wellness. (

Netroots Nation · social media

Calling all LGBT HS, college, & grad students in health! Webinar Wed on great scholarship progs at NIH!

by Scout, Ph.D.
Director, CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Dr. Sharon Milgram, Director of NIH's Office of Intramural Training & Education
Dr. Sharon Milgram, Director of NIH’s Office of Intramural Training & Education

UPDATE — Sharon has been struck mute by some nefarious bug. Clearly it’s a viral conspiracy to make sure we don’t get more LGBT people in the scholarship pool! Fight back by researching the opportunities yourself at the NIH website; or spreading the word even more so more folk can join Sharon when she tries to give this same webinar for us Jan 8th, 3 pm. Registration details coming in Jan.

UPDATE UPDATE — register here for January 8 3 pm webinar:

When we heard how amazing the scholarship & mentorship programs are at National Institutes of Health… we begged their (openly gay!) director, the esteemed Dr. Sharon Milgram, to please come spread the word to LGBT students directly. So, CenterLink & the Network for LGBT Health Equity are more than pleased to be collaborating with NIH to bring you a one on one conversation with the Director of these programs. Sharon promises to make what might seem complicated simple, and give you the inside dope on how to get yourself, or some young hotshot you love hooked up with the largest and most esteemed health research agency in the world. I know researchers who would give their eyeteeth to work at NIH — and I know we NEED more LGBT researchers at NIH desperately. So please do share this webinar info with your favorite students or postgrads!



DECEMBER 18, 2013; 3:00 – 4:00 EST.

Interested in a career in biomedical research, healthcare or public health? If you are, please join us for a webinar focused on training programs at the National Institutes of Health. The main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD houses the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1000 research groups focused on many different areas of the social, behavioral and biomedical sciences. Over 4500 trainees at the high school, college, graduate school, professional school, and postdoctoral level work and train on NIH campuses.

This webinar will explain the structure of the NIH, highlight our on-line career development resources and describe short- and long-term training opportunities on NIH campuses. We will answer your questions about how the NIH works, provide tips on applying to NIH training programs, and describe many other NIH resources.

Please register for the webinar HERE (If for any reason that doesn’t work, call 1800 263 6317 for more registration assistance).

Netroots Nation · social media

Announcing: Network Restarts at CenterLink – The Community of LGBT Centers


Scout, Ph.D.
Director, CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

We are more than pleased to be announcing the following news right now!



CenterLink Awarded New Five-Year CDC Grant

Becomes New Home for The Network for LGBT Health Equity

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – October 28, 2013 – CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers today announced that The Network for LGBT Health Equity has joined CenterLink and will become an official program of the organization.

“We are thrilled to have The Network for LGBT Health Equity joining CenterLink,” said Terry Stone, Executive Director of CenterLink.  “The work that Scout and his staff have done over the past eight years in creating healthier LGBT communities is so impressive, and we have high expectations that by using our organizations’ shared strengths we can provide even more focus on LGBT health through community centers across the country.”

Funding for The Network comes from a new five year $3M cooperative agreement from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for operation of the LGBT tobacco & cancer disparity network. “We look forward to continuing to work with the CDC to ensure that all of the state departments of health they fund have access to the latest best practices in LGBT wellness,” said Dr. Scout, Director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity at CenterLink.

All operations will be headquartered in CenterLink’s offices in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, with remote staff on the east and west coasts.  This union broadens CenterLink’s service lines for LGBT community center leaders, including health and wellness information resources, access to LGBT cultural competency training for state health departments and policymakers, and access to health advocacy resources.

The Network will continue to partner with The Fenway Institute, its former organizational home. “We look forward to continuing our work with The Network for LGBT Health Equity and helping to identify and end health disparities for the communities we serve,” said Dr. Judy Bradford, co-chair of The Fenway Institute. As part of a new focus on cancer, the Network will also be starting a major new partnership with the National LGBT Cancer Network.

“The Network’s business has always been linking people with information. That includes providing information to organizations around the country about taking care of our health, especially the role of tobacco and healthy living in eliminating our cancer & other health disparities” said Dr. Scout.  “We’ve had such a productive relationship with CenterLink over the years, and as we focus more on changing community norms about wellness it became clear — becoming an official part of CenterLink will let us have more impact than ever before.”

The Network’s move to CenterLink comes at a time when the federal Department of Health and Human Services has pledged to continue its work to ensure equal treatment for members of the LGBT community. The Department continues to implement changes reflective of the June Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Additionally, HHS is continuing outreach to the LGBT community to ensure they are aware of new consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act – including a ban on health insurance companies’ ability to deny or limit coverage because of sexual orientation or gender identity – starting in 2014.

# # #


CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers.  Serving over 200 LGBT community centers across the country in 46 states and the District of Columbia, as well as centers in Canada, Israel, Mexico, China, Italy and Australia, the organization plays an important role in supporting the growth of LGBT centers and addressing the challenges they face, by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity and increase access to public resources. (

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is a community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by eliminating tobacco use, and reducing cancer risk through enhancing diet and exercise. The Network, one of six CDC-funded tobacco and cancer disparity networks, directly trains state health departments and other policymakers in LGBT cultural competency and forges bridges between those agencies and local LGBT health specialists. The Network also actively monitors national and state health policymakers and urges community action when there is an opportunity to enhance LGBT wellness. (