Missouri Case Study 12 – Sparking Interest from Rural Missouri Hospitals on LGBT Health

andrew shaughnessyBy: Andrew Shaughnessy
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri

Upon concluding the review process for our Mid-Missouri and Southeast Missouri hospitals, health advocates were faced with the challenge of sparking interest among rural hospital officials on a review of their LGBT welcoming policies. Knowing the formula for sparking interest among urban hospitals, we knew that rural outreach would be considerably different. Putting on our strategy caps, advocates came up with a road map to engage these hospitals.

One issue that we felt needed to be overcome was the assumption that LGBT health is not an issue in rural Missouri – quite the contrary. We know that LGBT folks exist and live in every county in Missouri and across the Nation and we know that they utilize health and social service facilities – just like any citizen. But, disproportionately sexual minorities experience poorer health outcomes than our heterosexual peers according to the Missouri Foundation for Health.  Often times this is because of the invisibility LGBT rural folks feel within health and social service policies – it was our task to break our invisibility.

With this, advocates set out by utilizing the community, and the tools we learned from our outreach with urban hospitals. Through a series of strategic mailers that included a report of the hospitals LGBT welcoming policies as well as copies of local news articles that focused on LGBT health, advocates began to engage these officials.

In our outreach to rural hospital officials, advocates developed four points:

1. Create a sense of urgency – by highlighting local news articles that focus on LGBT health we were able to break our invisibility and create a sense of urgency. In developing these pieces, we also helped to start a community dialogue on LGBT health and the issues associated, including the lack of regional LGBT welcoming policies.

2. Highlight successes to create credibility– knowing this was the first time that these hospital officials would have likely been engaged by LGBT advocates, we wanted to create credibility from the begin by highlighting our past successes with urban hospitals.

3. Report along with methodology – to let officials know how we came to our conclusion on their LGBT welcoming policies, further establishing credibility.

4. Clear ask from the officials.

To review the packet of information sent to rural hospitals, please click here.

In the next case study, we will outline the work of the LGBT health advocates in outreaching to these officials along with lessons learned in moving forward with rural outreach on LGBT health.


CDC’s #20Million Memorial

#20Million Memorial


Just a mere fifty years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General released its first report on smoking and health. It’s sad to report that since then, there have been an estimated 20 million deaths in the United States, all from smoking and/or exposure to secondhand smoke. To put 20 million into perspective, there are only 2 states that have more than 20 million residents, and that would be California and Texas.

smoking infograph

This addiction not only claimed 20 million lives, but it left husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and friends heartbroken and sometimes alone. To visually get their point across, the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) launched an online memorial, this will commemorate the loss of the 20 million people, who have lost their lives to smoking related diseases.

The campaign began October 7th. People all across the country are taking to social media to share their testimony of people whom they lost and how it has affected their families. You can also be a part of this heartfelt memorial.

How do you get involved you asked? Start by sharing a memorial—a message and/or a photo—of someone you know who has lost their life to a smoking-related disease. By posting your memorial on social media with the hashtag #20million, your submission will become a part of CDC’s #20Million Memorial.

Below are examples you can use when drafting your own memorial(s).\





Spread the Word

If you don’t know anyone who has died from smoking, you can still get involved by promoting the #20Million Memorial campaign as well. Listed below are sample social media messages for you to post on your organization’s social media platforms or on your social media sites:

  • Today marks the kickoff of CDC’s #20Million Memorial. Since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, 20 million people have died from a smoking-related illness. Share a memorial of someone you lost with the hashtag #20million.
  • Together with @CDCTobaccoFree, we honor the #20million we have lost due to smoking. Share a memorial post of someone you lost using the hashtag #20million.
  • Join @CDCTobaccoFree to raise awareness about the #20million people who have died because of smoking. www.cdc.gov/tips
  • Who in your life has been affected by a smoking-related illness? Share your story using the #20million hashtag. www.cdc.gov/tips

We hope that you will join us all in memorializing our loved ones, and potentially changing the lives of people who battle with tobacco use. If you have any questions, please contact Maggie Silver at uvt8@cdc.gov or Jackie Woodring at ime9@cdc.gov.

Monthly Updates · Staff/Program Updates


New Network Logo Symbol 3-2011

The Network for LGBT Health Equity
 The time has come: Apply to be a part of our dynamic Steering Committee!
Applications due by June 3rd, 2013

The Network for LGBT Health Equity is now accepting applications to fill four positions on its 13 member Steering Committee!

The purpose of the committee is to provide multidisciplinary input and guidance on activities for the Network. Members will participate by sharing information regarding tobacco and other LGBT health disparity opportunities, providing input on National Network efforts, and considering strategic policy enhancements that further LGBT health disparity work at their organizations.


  •  Attend regularly scheduled phone meetings (generally once or twice a month maximum)
  • Attend one in-person meetings per year (paid for by the Network)
  • Review and give feedback on policy, direction, and strategic planning of Network Activities
  • Strategize effective ways to increase Network visibility, organizational outreach, and membership
  • Identify and increase the engagement of subgroups within the LGBT community (i.e., youth, rural, elder, etc)
  • Support and enhance the goals and objectives of the Network in a changing environment
  • Engage agency/coalition groups on pertinent issues/opportunities and report back to the Committee

If you are interested in applying for the committee, the following is required (please send CV/Resume and Statement of Interest to lgbthealthequity@gmail.com):

The Youth/Young Adult Nomination process is slightly varied. 

If you are  between 18-24 years old and would like to apply to be on the committee, click here to fill out the Youth/Young Adult Steering Committee Application form online. Youth/young adults can also apply through the general nominations process (candidacy will not be affected by either application) and follow the same guidelines by submitting the following:

All Nominations must be submitted on or before Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by 3PM EST

To: lgbthealthequity@gmail.com Subject: Steering Committee Nomination

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 working days of your email nomination. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 2 working days, please resend and call 617.927.6452 to ensure delivery. If you are submitting a nomination on the due date and have not received a confirmation by 4PM EST please call 617.927.6452 before 5PM EST to resend or confirm delivery. Nominations received after 6/3/2013 at 3PM EST will not be accepted.
We look forward to reviewing your applications. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!
Thank you,
Network Steering Committee and Staff

Youth Ambassadors report back: Creating space, solidarity and inspiration!

Malcolm Marshall attended the 2012 Summit in Kansas City as a youth ambassador representing the amazing organization National Youth Pride Services. Here is a write-up by Malcolm about the Youth and Young Adult track that he attended at the Summit. We were so happy you were able to attend Malcom! Thanks for all of your hard work!

-The Network

Malcolm Marshall
Youth Pride Services Ambassador
The National LGBT Health Equity Summit

The National LGBT Tobacco Health Conference was a tremendous learning experience. My job as a young YPS ambassador was to represent YPS in three health workshops by giving my opinions on how to better the LGBT community and uplift it. The first work shop was called “Health Equity” which talked about how heterosexuals view the LGBT community as not being normal or an abomination. The second work shop, “Advocacy to Action, Youth Taking on the Movement”, required us to give input on how to reduce the smoking rate in the LGBT community. The third workshop was called “Where Do We Go from Here”, and involved us giving our opinions on how to literally enforce everything we said and take it back to the network so they can try to help start all of these programs to improve the LGBT community.  Overall I learned a lot and it felt great to work with such powerful organizations.

The first workshop “Health Equity” talked about many heterosexuals viewing the LGBT community as not being normal or an abomination. The workshop was led by a doctor who explained to us that the things that are said to the LGBT community in the midst of coming out can cause a huge percentage of the LGBT community to develop low self-esteem because even though we may not show it, it still bothers us on the inside. Statistics show that most of the people in the LGBT community who experience this have higher rates of committing suicide, reliance on drugs, abusing alcohol, and take laxatives to lose weight because they were uncomfortable with their weight and feel that  they have to portray an ideal image. After all of this was discussed we moved on to getting the youth opinion on how to stop heterosexuals from having such a negative approach towards the LGBT community. The youth basically came up with things like starting classes for teaching cultural respect and competency.  In the end I felt that the strategies we came up with were the perfect start to resolving this problem.

Youth and Young Adult track at the 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit

The second workshop “Advocacy to Action, Youth Taking on the Movement” required us to give input on how to decrease the smoking rate in the LGBT community.  In this workshop two presenters explained to us all the consequences that come with smoking, and that we need to come up with strategies to show LGBT people that smoking can be a huge threat to their lives. We split up into groups of four and came up with strategies to decrease the LGBT community smoking rate.  After this we had to present our strategies to the group. The main things that were said that each group had in common was that we need to be the movement , by getting more support, networking,  and having events educating the LGBT communities on smoking tobacco.  We most definitely worked hard and I can definitely see these things happening in the near future.

The final workshop “Where Do We Go from Here” basically was a space to give our opinions on how to actually enforce everything we had talked about and take it back to the Network so they can try to help start programs to improve the LGBT community and include young people in that.  All of us than began to huddle up, get in groups, and brainstorm. Frank Walker (founder and director of National Youth Pride Services) and Nicole Sutton (of The Real Message)  were there to guide us through this workshop.  They applied their knowledge and we created strategies on how to enforce everything we had come up with from the 2012 LGBT Summit. So we wrote a list of things we were going to send to the LGBT health Equity Network and presented it to the whole Summit.  We all strongly agreed that we needed to enforce more love, more achievement, and more support.  As we all stood there in front of everyone I realized this was my favorite conference, and that the movement was getting stronger.

Representing YPS as a young ambassador was an amazing gift. In the first workshop I became more passionate about the LGBT community. In the second workshop I learned more about the smoking rate in the LGBT community, and in the final workshop we got to be a part of the change by applying our thoughts to the Summit. At the end of my trip to the 2012 LGBT Health Equity Summit I found myself very glad that I chose to come on this trip as a young ambassador for YPS.

Conferences · LGBT Policy · MPOWERED · social media · Summit

Summit Youth Track SUCCESS!!!

The Youth Track at this year’s Summit blew us away. Sure, we had high hopes for the almost thirty folks under the age of 25 who attended the Summit, but we were FLOORED by their dedication, passion, and innovation in creating a sustainable and inspiring direction for youth and young adult involvement in the Network, and in the health equity and tobacco control movements. This clip is the presentation by the youth track participants at the Summit closing (notice the standing ovation at the end!).