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 pleased 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.
By Gustavo Torrez
Little Rock, Arkansas
Greetings from Little Rock Arkansas, where we are conducting another Cultural Competency training focused on assisting programs in developing effective strategies to reach and serve LGBT communities.
As many of you know, one of the Network’s most requested trainings is our Cultural Competency training, “Skills Building to Reach and Serve LGBT Disparity Populations”. Whenever we give a training, we try to identify local LGBT individuals, programs and services to assist us and provide both a local perspective on the LGBT Climate in that state or region, but also a local community link for participants to reach out to. This got us thinking about ways that we could continue to utilize our national partnerships to build and sustain the movements established when we travel, as well as conduct trainings and technical assistance. So, we are pleased to announce our formalized policy around trainings and technical assistance which utilizes our national partners and establishes solid community access points when we conduct trainings. So now, anytime we are requested to do trainings we will reach out directly to our partners at both CenterLink and Equality Federation to establish local community access points to integrate into the training. Although we have been doing this to some extent independently, actually formalizing the process of working with our partners will ensure that we are providing trusted LGBT based resources and information to participants. Each groups membership base provides unique perspective in working with the community and will strengthen our partnerships and ensure more local LGBT resources are shared during the presentation. Here in Arkansas we put our new policy to work with Kat Krisp, of the Center for Artistic Revolution, which is a member of Equality Federation. I met with Kat and toured their facility to gain a better understanding of the resources they provided locally and we together we finalized our game plan for the training. Kat joined us all day yesterday for the training, and was an amazing resource on Arkansas LGBT issues and perspective.
I could not have asked for a better training yesterday and was so pleased to have been invited to Arkansas. There is a lot of support for LGBT inclusion in Arkansas, and I am proud of the movement starting there. As a state in the Bible belt, they expressed some unique challenges, but the individuals in the room want to make a difference for their community as a whole and the sense of enthusiasm for LGBT inclusion into all of their work was magical. I want to thank The Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which is MSA established agency to provide administrative oversight and program direction for the portion of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services Tobacco Prevention and Cessation fund designed to target Arkansas’ minority population, for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing movement in Arkansas. Their leadership is is outstanding, and I feel there will be some more great changes for inclusion of LGBT communities in the future.