LGBT Policy · Show Me MO · Technical Assistance · Updates

Missouri Case Study 10 – Making LGBT Health Matter in Missouri Hospitals

Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy for PROMO

Andrew Shaughnessy
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri

This year has proven to be a monumental year for LGBT Missourians. Those monumental steps have been the recognition of out-of-state marriages by the State of Missouri, and the leadership of nearly 47 Missouri hospitals, who have included 105 new LGBT welcoming policies to their core values. As an LGBT Missourian it certainly gives me relief to know that I can access health care facilities and be me: my authentic self.

In 2013, only two Missouri Hospitals, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and the VA in St. Louis, qualified as leaders in the Human Rights Campaign Care Equality Index (HEI). In the coming days the health sector will see the launch of the 2014 HEI, where several of Missouri’s top hospitals have been reviewed on their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) welcoming policies.  This year, Missouri will see several hospitals both in rural and urban areas that have been working to ensure their facilities are welcoming to all.

To learn more about the policies of Missouri Hospitals, click here for a map detailing their LGBT welcoming policies.

We have truly made LGBT health matter among Missouri’s top hospitals, but the work of the LGBT health policy project does not stop there. Through the technical assistance of Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink, we will continue to work with health and social services organizations in Missouri to ensure that we are creating spaces free from discrimination. Through our collaboration with Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director of SAGE Metro St. Louis, we will be training Missouri’s health and social service professionals to understand the unique needs of LGBT patients.  And we will continue to advocate for the health of LGBT families and our families of choice.

As we begin to look at the legal future for the LGBT community, we must be concerned with the growing disparities we find in LGBT health. Our next frontier is on the borders of health and making sure that we are a strong and healthy community. I’m humbled to be a part of this work. Having experienced discrimination in a health care setting myself, I assure you your voice is not going unheard.


Data · Puerto Rico · Resources · Steering Committee · Summit · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy · Updates

Benson & Hedges Targets LGBTT Communities in Puerto Rico

Juan Carlos Photo


Juan Carlos Vega, MLS

Blogging for the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTTA Health of Puerto Rico, National Latino Alliance Pro Health Equity and the Network for LGBT Health Equity



This is bad! As health professionals, community prevention programs, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health strive to reduce tobacco use prevalence among island inhabitants, we have busted Benson & Hedges, twice, targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transexual (LGBTT) communities in San Juan area’s LGBTT clubs. Cute girls, in tight outfits, look to scan your driver’s license in order to continue to help folks initiate or facilitate access to low price cigarettes. If you fill out the survey that they present at these bars and allow them to scan your id, you can purchase a pack of Benson & Hedges from the bar at a huge discount. No wonder LGBTT smoking prevalence is two to three times higher than that of the general population.

Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills
Health Authorities Warn: Smoking Kills

Twice, I have been with gay guys who are trying to quit smoking for health and financial reasons and they have been accosted by such tobacco industry tactics. One time, we bought the cigarettes, the second time we resisted. Yes, I was included. After nine years of being smoke free, I have become an occasional social smoker for the past 3-4 years. It is so nasty, the smoke inhalation, the after taste, yet, after a few drinks, I see myself taking a “hit” or two from my friends’ cigarettes. I don’t blame the industry for my personal unhealthy choices, but they sure don’t help us quit for good!  Access to cheap smokes at bars should not be allowed! 

Last weekend, was the second consecutive month, we have seen this predatory practice in our local LGBTT bars. It was contrasting to see as we were distributing promotional flyers for the  3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico, April 4th and 5th at the School of Nursing of the Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, free of cost for the general public and $45.00 fee for Continuing Education for Physicians and Nurses. Against the luring of the tobacco industry to get us to smoke again, the Citizens’ Alliance Pro LGBTT Healthefforts continue to fight the dangers of tobacco use with the support ofLegacy Foundation, the Network for LGBT Health Equity, theComprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Puerto Rico, and the local tobacco free coalition. For more information, on how tobacco affects the health of LGBTT communities, come to the 3rd LGBTT Health Summit of Puerto Rico: Tendencies Towards Health EquityApril 4th and 5th in San Juan. Come by, our Summit is cheaper than the pack of cigarettes sold those nights and you will get great information, make new friends and learn how to take better care of yourselves!

spanish tobacco
Juan Carlos Vega shows a tobacco cessation material in Spanish “Tobacco is a murderer that does not discriminate”
Funding · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Pride · Resources · Staff/Program Updates · State Work · Technical Assistance · Updates

A Year In Review: Spotlight on North Dakota Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program



Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity

When I started working with the Network almost 4 years ago the first state I had the pleasure to visit was North Dakota. During my visit I conducted two LGBT Cultural Competency training one for their grantees, and another at their Annual Statewide Alcohol and Substance Abuse Summit. At that time they were thinking about strategies to include LGBT communities in their tobacco control work and have not looked back since. I had the privilege of going back and spoke at the 3rd annual statewide GLBTQA conference held at the University of North Dakota this past

Left to Right: Neil Charvat, Gustavo Torrez, Rep. Kayie Overson, Rep Josh Boschee, and Krista Headland
Left to Right: Neil Charvat, Gustavo Torrez, Rep. Kayie Overson, Rep Josh Boschee, and Krista Headland

April, and was overjoyed at the progress they have made over the past couple years in terms of community support for LGBT tobacco control efforts. At times we can see progress through emails and updates here and there, but to actually see the level of community support for LGBT Tobacco Control efforts was absolutely amazing. From local LGBT groups to State Representatives its was truly refreshing especially for a state like North Dakota.  Over the past couple of years work in North Dakota has not stopped, in fact the work has grown to include more and more folks in the community committed to LGBT Tobacco Control efforts in the state. Neil Charvat, Community Health Specialist with the Chronic Disease Program at the North Dakota Department of Health has truly made some huge strides in the state. Neil has been charged with the talk of LGBT inclusion efforts and has forged many partnerships which have truly shaped the direction of their efforts. Most recently, a great article was published North Dakota puts $2,500 in anti-smoking funds toward Fargo pride festival, highlighting some of these efforts.

I wanted to take a moment and showcase in depth some of the great work that has taken place over the past year, and thank Neil for his commitment to inclusion efforts in North Dakota. I am so proud of the work that he has not only accomplished, but how the Department has truly institutionalized LGBT tobacco Control efforts in North Dakota. Please read his article below as he article below –  Engaging Disparate Populations: North Dakota LGBT Communities.

Neil Charvat
North Dakota Department of Health
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
Fiscal Year July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013

Engaging Disparate Populations: North Dakota LGBT Communities

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) in the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) work to engage populations disparately effected by tobacco use on a statewide level. One of the populations identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as having high tobacco use rates and being targeted by the tobacco industry is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Efforts to engage North Dakota’s LGBT communities in tobacco control efforts have been made since 2008, varying degrees of success. The main obstacle has been identifying LGBT groups in North Dakota. The NDDoH TPCP was fortunate to become involved in Fargo-Moorhead Pridefest for the first time in 2011. FM Pridefest is the largest LGBT event held in North Dakota. This initial effort was to provide NDQuits information and materials to event attendees. In 2012 the ND DoH was again invited to be a part of FM Pridefest. In July, NDQuits marketing tools were utilized at the FM Pridefest 5K Run-Walk, and that event was tobacco-free. NDQuits material and information were promoted at the FM Pride in the Park in August. ND DoH staff attended the event. The staff was able to promote cessation efforts as well as provide information about tobacco issues that directly affected the LGBT community in North Dakota.

NDDoH TPCP staff had the opportunity to meet with Julia Geigle at the University of North Dakota. Julia is a graduate student at UND working on LGBT health issues. The meeting was to discuss the issue of tobacco use in the LGBT community, and the health impacts that resulted from that use. Information on engaging the LGBT community and promoting NDQuits cessation services were provided to Julia. As a result of this meeting, Julia invited the TPCP staff to participate in a UND LGBT conference in April, 2013. NDDoH was able to involve Gustavo Torrez from the Fenway Institute in the UND Conference. Gustavo travelled to the conference to present on LGBT tobacco and health issues. Gustavo was also able to engage North Dakota legislators in attendance by providing information on LGBT health issues. The conference was well attended by the UND LGBT campus community. As a result of the success of this event, there are plans to incorporate more events like this into the newly created ND Campus Tobacco Prevention Project. This project will involve most college campuses in North Dakota.

The NDDoH TPCP will continue to engage the LGBT in future tobacco prevention work for the next fiscal year.

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

Brainstorming on New LGBT Health Research Textbook


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

Arkansas LGBT Health Initiative · Staff/Program Updates · Technical Assistance

Statewide LGBT Health Initiative takes off in Arkansas


Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity

As you may have see by my last post: Arkansas taking major efforts to reduce LGBT Tobacco and Health Disparities, great things are happening in Arkansas.

The Network is pleased to be facilitating the development of this joint initiative supported by the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipients Grants Office (MISRGO) and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

Over the past two days, I have been working with local community groups, MISRGO & DOH on discussing priorities for the groups, and we are arkansas-mappleased to announce the first initial project will be a statewide LGBTQ needs assessment. With an expected launch day of June 1st, we look forward to moving the project forward. With June being PRIDE month, there will be many opportunities to promote the needs assessment.

Our next visit will be May 20th, 2013 where we will convene the group at the Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR), Arkansas CenterLink Affiliate. As the leading youth LGBTQ center in Arkansas there is no better place to host the next meeting.

Just a little side note… We first introduced CAR to both MISRGO and ADH during our first visit to Arkansas back over two years ago during our cultural competency training sponsored by MISRGO. As part of our formal partnership with CenterLink and Equality Federation, we always reach out to both groups to identify local affiliates before we conduct such trainings. By incorporating local LGBT groups into our trainings we are not only providing local perspective, but access points to assist in understanding and reaching the LGBT community in the respective state.

Anyways, during our next visit to Arkansas we will focus on developing a dissemination plan for the needs assessment with a focus on both, the youth/young adult populations as well as minority populations throughout Arkansas.

We look forward to further development of the initiative, and working with both MISRGO and ADH collectively in an effort to reduce LGBT health disparities in Arkansas.

State Work · Technical Assistance

Nebraska Travelogue: Smokeless Diva Drag Pageant?


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

Uh-oh met the great tobacco team over at U of Nebraska Medical Center and boy have they upped the game! Little did I know they already have an LGBT outreach person working on tobacco control, the great Ariss Rogel Mendoza. And our old friend Antonia Correa has been running a great Latinas Tabaco y Cancer group. And some of the Latina group were major drivers in organizing last weekend’s… no, I’m not lying… Smokeless Diva Drag Pageant. Wow! How many other states have community level LGBT tobacco control activities now? And the stories from it were great, the winner’s father died of lung cancer, so she went all out, even making dresses incorporating bits & pieces of tobacco marketing materials.

So if they’re already running tobacco control drag pageants here in Nebraska, my only question is… how in the world do I help move them forward?

Wow, so much glitter. The crowning of the smokeless diva drag queen!
Wow, so much glitter. The crowning of the smokeless diva drag queen!
Ariss, Antonia, & Athena - the Latina powerteam working on tobacco a U Nebraska Med Ctr - Ctr on DIsparities.
Ariss, Antonia, & Athena – the Latina powerteam working on tobacco a U Nebraska Med Ctr – Ctr on DIsparities.
Resources · Technical Assistance · webinar

Upcoming Webinar: The LGBTQ community and Cancer- Health Equality in the Era of the ACA

Francisco headshot
Francisco O. Buchting, Ph.D.
Buchting Consulting – Principal
Steering Committee Member

The LGBTQ community and Cancer- Health Equality in the Era of the ACA

Monday April 15, 2013 (11am Pacific) 2:00-3:30 PM EST

April is National Minority Health Month, and to celebrate,  join us April 15th as we discuss the importance of understanding the impact of Cancer in the LGBTQ community and the role of
the ACA in providing more equity in health.
We will try to significantly raise your awareness to the distinct challenges of eliminating
health disparities and promoting health equity among the LGBTQ community and the
effective efforts to improve the health of these diverse communities across the cancer



To register for this meeting:

1. Go to

2. Register for the meeting.

Once the host approves your request, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting. To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link:

For assistance: 1. Go to 2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”. You can contact:

To participate only in the audio portion:  Call-in toll-free number (Premiere): 1-888-757-2790 Call-in number (Premiere): 1-719-359-9722 Attendee access code: 329671

Conferences · Feature · Monthly Updates · Staff/Program Updates · Technical Assistance

March Updates from the Network

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity



Some major events have been taking place here at the Network, but first it’s all about CDC’s Tips campaign series. On March 4th, CDC launched its second phase of the Tips campaign series with popular ads from last years “Tips from Former Smokers” Campaign.  The campaign highlights the stories of real people who are suffering the results of smoking related health effects, such as throat cancer, stroke and asthma. The campaign is focused around “tips” from the people in the campaign, such as “When you have a hole in your neck, don’t face the shower head”. The “tips” are poignant, and emphasize the simple and powerful message that smoking has consequences. While a successful campaign, there were no tailored LGBT ads initially created. After advocating and working with CDC, an LGBT focused ad was created for social media and web use. The Network provided assistance to CDC to help them better understand the LGBT market and venues to promote the campaign and played a leadership role urging inclusion of all disparity communities in the Tips 2 campaign. Next month we will see the new Tips 2 ads released, and look forward to more comprehensive inclusion of disparity communities, including messaging and ad buys geared toward the LGBT community.

pic for blogIn an effort to continually provide resources to Quitlines, the Network partnered with the North American Quitline Consortium to offer a webinar titled Strategies for Building LBGT Faith and Confidence in Quitlines. We were pleased to hear how many years allies have been advocating for LGBT inclusion in their local quitlines using our resources and leadership. Never giving up, some were more successful than other, but they are still advocating. The sheer passion for inclusion was remarkable and to our surprise immediately after the call we were approached by three states that would like training and technical assistance resources on adding SO/GI measures to their Quitlines.

MO Group PhotoAs you are aware from our last report, we submitted a TA proposal to the Missouri Foundation for Health which we are pleased to report was funded. The new project is centered around policy change initiatives allowing the Network the flexibility to develop a replicable policy change initiative model that can be duplicated across the country. Ensuring no time was wasted, Scout and Gustavo hit the road to St. Louis to conduct the first in-person TA meeting with the local partners. Our two day meeting focused on Asset Mapping and looking at both internal and external opportunities to influence the project goals and objectives. Click here to learn more about this exciting new project.

The Network is also pleased to have tobacco control folks from across the country in Boston for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 19th Annual International Meeting. This year there are 7 posters presentations that address LGBT communities. We are highlighting the posters through a series of blogs, click here to view.

In closing, Dr. Scout had a new blog on the Huffington Post titled ʺWho can really stop smokingʺ which is a must read. In addition, as a follow-up to the Sellers Dorsey LGBT health retreat at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Italy last year, this month Dr. Scout was invited to submit a proposal for a writing residency at the Rockefeller Center. His proposed project focused on transgender health policy change. If funded he would be one of only a few writers ever invited to focus on LGBT issues.

LGBT Policy · Technical Assistance

LGBT Health Policy Changes Coming to Missouri – Network Provides Technical Assistance

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity

Last week Scout and I hit the road and headed to St. Louis MO. to work on a new Technical Assistance contract funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). For those of you who are unaware, MFH has a long standing history of funding innovative projects to reduce health disparities in their state.

The Project is solely focused on health policy change initiatives, which is huge, allowing us the flexibility to develop a replicable policy change initiative model that can be used across the country. The best part about it is both groups have amazing folks working on the project who all have a vested interest in reducing health disparities, with a focus in tobacco control. The current project is a 6 month start-up with a goal of long term sustainable funding.  As the lead on the project, the Network is working in partnership with two local funded groups:

PROMO a statewide organization advocating for equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education, and

SAGE: a program focused on enhancing the lives of LGBT older adults through service, advocacy and community awareness.

MO Group Photo
Sherrill Wayland, SAGE Executive Director, Tracy McCreery – PROMO Public Policy Manager, Gustavo Torrez Network Program Manager, Dr. Scout, Network Program Director

Our two day meeting focused on Asset Mapping to being looking at both internal and external opportunities to influence the project goals and objectives. For those of you who are unaware of Asset Mapping, it is an exercise that helps groups/individuals create a “map” of available resources, and opportunities in the respective community. The goal is to create a complete (or as close to complete) picture of the current opportunities, community’s strengths and needs as we begin to work on policy initiatives for the state. One of the main benefits of Asset Mapping is bring folks to the table to have open dialogue about the community’s resources and readiness to initiate and outline further opportunities as a group building a unified vision for the group.Asset Mapping is mutually beneficial for both the Network to help to address challenges and barriers as they arrive but also to help all parties at the table to truly get to know community partners and organizations to being to set the stage for sustainable, long lasting working relationships. In addition, it helps to identify, community assets, resources issues, gaps in services, and areas for further coordination and collaboration.

We look forward to the next phase of this project and our continued work with staff at both Promo and SAGE. We will be sure to update you all on the success, and learning opportunities we encounter moving forward.

Feature · Monthly Updates · Resources · Staff/Program Updates · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy · Updates

February Updates From The Network

As we closed out January leading into February the Network had full representation at this year’s Creating Change 2013 Conference (CC13). Joined by our Blogging Scholarship Recipient Alex Aldana along with two guest bloggers Josh Gale and Trevoi Crump from National Youth Pride Services, we were able to showcase many of the great workshops and events that took place at CC13.

photo copyEvery year at Creating Change the Network facilitates an education campaign; this year we launched our Governors Initiative. This is a community based best practices initiative focused on bridging the gap between LGBT individuals and health by engaging them to send a postcard to their governor asking if LGBT health best practices are being implemented in their state. We have printed four questions on the postcards, each based on our MPOWERED best practices: Does the state collect LGBT data as a routine part of all health surveys (such as BRFSS & YRBS), are health department and grantee staff trained in LGBT cultural competency and health disparities, are LGBT people included in community advisory bodies, are LGBT images routinely reflected in public health promotional materials? We are very pleased to report we already have postcards collected for thirty different states.

Arkansas Group ShotThis month Gustavo visited Arkansas for the third time, this time expanding his technical assistance to a broader group of stakeholders from across the Arkansas Department of Health. On this trip, we’re pleased to report they launched a strategy we’d been suggesting to them on prior trips, the creation of an Arkansas LGBT Tobacco & Health Coalition. They are also implementing a larger scale LGBT integration strategy across the state department of health. To help this strategy Gustavo was able to meet with state health representatives from grants management, cessation, media, chronic disease, and HIV, among others. Gustavo also facilitated the largest LGBT health meeting in the state, a convening of 30 different community and state stakeholders beginning the work on their LGBT tobacco & health action plan. In order to strengthen the work in Arkansas, the Network is collaborating with The National LGBT Health Education Center here at the Fenway Institute, who has done some training with the University of Arkansas’ Medical Campus. As is our policy, we connected local state representatives with the local community based organizations that are part of CenterLink and the Equality Federation. In this case, Gustavo arranged for state staff to visit the Center for Artistic Revolution. We couldn’t be more pleased with Arkansas’ willingness to put best practice guidelines into the field and look forward to subtantive local changes as a result.

In a similar story, one of the states with whom we have been doing years of work had a success this month. West Virginia was the state that first asked us to outline the science justifying LGBT data collection, spurring our LGBT Tobacco Surveillance Briefing Paper. We’re happy to report this month their tobacco data release was led by the news of the LGBT smoking disparity, news that ultimately gained them coverage in the biggest state newspaper. See the story, including our quotes here.

In other assorted notes this month, the Network submitted an invited proposal to the Missouri Foundation for Health to provide Technical Assistance to a local health policy project. Dr. Scout submitted a section on tobacco for a forthcoming book, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. He has also been confirmed as the plenary speaker for Nebraska’s state tobacco conference in April. As follow-up to the last month’s request to Sebelius for more funded LGBT tobacco research, we also had a meeting with the head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Dr. Lawrence Deyton. FDA’s CTP is investing heavily in new tobacco regulatory research. Dr. Deyton was very open to suggestions on how to ensure LGBT people (and all disparity populations) were included in the range of tobacco research; look for more information on that initiative in coming months.