Conferences · Uncategorized

“It’s Your Time To Shine!” 2014 LGBTQ Youth Regional Retreats Recap

Motivational-Inspirational-Life-Quotes-2243National Youth Pride Services recently hosted it’s 2014 “It’s Your Time To Shine” Regional Retreat series in Detroit, Michigan (Midwest), Columbia, South Carolina (South) and Washington D.C. (East) thanks to sponsors CenterLink, Lambda Legal, 3LW TV, South Carolina Black Pride, Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services and Al Sura. The retreat was designed to uplift, inspire and motivate the black LGBTQ youth communities in a way that had never been done before. Below, the retreat facilitator and participants recap the events of the three retreats.

In 2014 NYPS changed it mission and vision to be MORE uplifting, positive and empowering; to focus on the positive and less of the negative. We believe that people who are self-confident are more willing to help lift others. After All, winners help others win. Many people are looking for hope, and may just not know where to find it or how to get there. “One Shinning Moment” is our nationwide effort to uplift and inspire our target population. There is much to be said about all the negativity in our communities. This video, shown to all attendees, highlights some of the negative opinions about our community, but we feel this is our #OneShinningMoment to come up with solutions and move to the next level.

The goals of the retreats were to make sure each participant would leave the weekend knowing how to:

Live your life on purpose.

Not on “default.” Be Proactive. Make conscious and deliberate choices. When you don’t choose, circumstances choose for you and you are never leading: you are following or catching up—or worse, living in “default” mode.

Utilize your full potential.

Give what you’re doing your best and fullest attention. Be here now. Even if you’re not where you want to be, giving it half of your effort doesn’t move you forward. Master what you have at hand, for the sake of mastering it, and something will shift.

Live in the question.

There is nothing you cannot be, do, or have, so do not impose limitations on yourself. Instead of saying you can’t get there, ask “How can I get there?” Live in the affirmation of possibility rather than the declaration of negativity.

There is always a way, and it is being presented consistently, but you have to live in the question to be on the lookout for the answer.

Learn to say “No.”

To live your best possible life, you need to learn how to say no to the things that aren’t serving you. The best barometer to measure this by is: if it isn’t a “hell yeah” (Yippee, so fun, can’t wait!), then it is most probably a no. If you have to talk yourself into it, it’s a no.

Once you get comfortable saying no, everything becomes a matter of choice. Living a life of choice is a living a life of freedom.

Know your own value.

Others may be more educated, skilled, or talented in one or another area, but there is something magnificent and valuable about what you have to offer this world that, in comparison, is equal.

Do not allow yourself or anyone else to diminish it. You have a learning disability? So did Dr.King, and that’s what makes him the most powerful speakers. Joe Vitale came from homelessness. Look at him now. Stop idolizing anyone else’s gifts and dismissing your own.

The Midwest version (June), the largest of the three, was held in conjunction with FIERCE, a national program working towards LGBTQ youth of color liberation and located at the Allied Media Conference at Wayne State University. Andrew Rahme, attended the Midwest Regional and based on his experiences and interactions during the weekend, actually became a member of NYPS. Here are some of his thoughts on the Detroit even which had a greater focus on community building and activism:

10383485_10203476696491931_6806017940715506034_nCreation, connection, and transformation are the words that come to mind when thinking about the Midwest Regional at the Allied Media Conference (AMC). Being a queer or trans person of color, it is reality that you have to constantly create solutions for yourself in order to live happily, and successfully. We create walls, stories, identities, spaces, and sometimes we even create realities different from the ones that we are confined to. At the AMC networking gathering, we had a chance to come together as QTPOC and identify the current issues to implement change in our community. Through games, laughter, relationship building, and amazing food, we discovered things about ourselves and about each other that allowed us to grow in ways we didn’t expect.

A very large focus of the network gathering at AMC was surrounded around connection. Connection to each other, to the world around us, and to our personal selves. We mapped out where our interests of change are and brainstormed what steps we can take to implement that change. We connected in ways we didn’t expect through common interests, experiences and the sharing of our wants, needs, hopes, and realities. Many of us began combining different realities and solutions in order to produce ideas for the most effective change.

The end result was inspiring and truly transforming. We got to be first hand witnesses of the beauty that comes out of organizing with QTPOC youth. Ideas as well as lasting relationships were created and strengthened, and to see what change these new alliances will create is exciting to watch for.

The South version (August) was held in Loft’s at The Claussen’s Inn. On Friday night all participants watched the video on the State of The Black LGBTQ Community. Some in the room agreed with some of the statements made, but the majority felt that there were some things that could be done to change the perception of what it is like to be black and LGBTQ.

On Saturday, the first session focused on a common theme in the video: “Status Anxiety”. This is the constant comparing of yourself to others. We looked at how the people you surround yourself with can be stressful and a few ways to get rid of status anxiety. Other issues touched on were: “Later Never Comes” (procrastination), Self Respect, Self Esteem, How Not To Care What Others Think About You as well as our other Life Development Series for Black LGBTQ young adults: “Dollars and Good Sense” and “Born To Win”.

Brandon Berry, of Orlando, FL gives his thoughts on the south retreat:

Brandon Dykes served as a facilitator for the South Region Retreat, as did Brandon Berry.
Brandon Dykes served as a facilitator for the South Region Retreat, as did Brandon Berry.

It was the epitome of comfort, which was a pleasant surprise to me. Imagine walking into a beautiful inn, rich with its area’s history and augmented tall ceiling including a large glass window clearly displaying the beautiful sky. Imagine a two-story loft for a room with all of the space necessary for yourself as well as any of your guests and fellow attendees. One would think no real productive work would be done. Contrary to that thought, we spent a majority of our days with each other having deep, lengthy and intelligent conversations. One of the highlights of this weekend is that great work took place in the comfort of our own rooms. It was a great experience.

I not only met strong and intelligent Black men of distinction, but I got to get personal with them and discuss life and goals and our journeys to our respective unfolding greatness. We held discussions on how to be an effective leader, things to remember when inheriting a leadership position from someone else, and other miscellaneous subjects like the Quality of Education from HBCUs vs PWIs.

Overall the conference was great, and the experience was even greater.

The East version (September) was held at the Akwaaba, a luxury, African inspired house in LGBTQ friendly DuPont Circle. Like the south version, on Friday night, participant’s gathered to watch the video and discuss it. They were more aggressive in their defense of the black LGBTQ community and pointed out how no one in the video took any personal responsibility.

The East Region participants, not only went over all of the same Life Development series topics covered in the South Region, they were able to

Jabbar Lewis facilitated the "Selfies" series in DC.
Jabbar Lewis facilitated the “Selfies” series in DC.

preview parts of our new series: “Choices”: Whether you believe it or not, everything up to this point in your life that has or has not happened to you is because of the choices you have made. Every aspect or our life when examined a little closer can be traced back to a series of choices we have made.

In addition, each participant was given a section of each series to study and then present to the group.

The East Region allowed participants to live together for 3 full days in a fully furnished house, similar to a reality show. This dynamic might have made the East Region one of the best experiences out of the three, so much so, we are looking to hosts future retreats in a luxury house setting. The South and East Regions are also where we tested out having each participant follow each presentation on their tablet/laptop or mobile devices instead of the traditional power points and projectors. They now will be able to relive each session on their mobile device at any time.

Here is a  complete list of all Life Development topics, related videos and handouts from the retreats.

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
@andrewshag

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.

 

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://ow.ly/DhVNO

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

social media

Passing the Skinny, Young, Good-Looking Guys

bike_image

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scout-phd/passing-the-skinny-young-_b_5398022.html?utm_hp_ref=lgbt-wellness

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!”

Summit · Uncategorized

One Data Set Does Not Fit All

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health

This morning, I had the privilege of attending Reaching Priority Communities and Supporting Policies, a panel consisting of the six sister networks of CDC disparity populations – Break Free Alliance, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network,  Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership, National Native Network, National Latino Tobacco Control Network, and our very own Network for LGBT Health Equity. It was so great to see so many connections being made throughout these organizations, but at the same time it was so overwhelming! So many amazing points were made that there is absolutely no way I would be able to summarize all of it without writing a megillah.

That being said, I think it’s important to give you all some takeaways shared by each of the organizations.

Break Free Alliance – It’s about leveling the playing field. We don’t want exemptions in any policy.

National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network – One data set does not fit all.

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership— Leadership is not just the 3 D’s: Doctors, Deans, and Directors.

National Native Network— The burden of commercial tobacco is incredibly relevant to our communities, and needs to be discussed from this commercialized position.

National Latino Tobacco Control Network— Speak, speak, and loudly!

Network for LGBT Health Equity— Every segment of our community is different and changing, so we have to constantly be having these conversations.

Again, I think that a lot of this is information that those of us in the trenches already know. As one member of the audience put it, “We’re not just preaching to the choir; we’re preaching to the preachers.” But, it’s still nice to be in rooms where these conversations are still relevant, still immediate. I think that our next challenge is to really stay energized and excited about the work that we do, all while working together and continuing our coalition building.

social media

WIN! CDC gets in on pride fabulosity

 
 
The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Makin’ sure you see the COOL stuff
 
 
 
 

Exciting news! You know the CDC’s Tips from Former Smoker’s campaign? Well, in honor of pride month (whooooo!), the CDC has come out with a very cool graphic specifically targeted to the LGBT community:

When the CDC first reported out to the tobacco disparity networks (we are one of these!) on their historic $40M tobacco control ad campaign, they didn’t mention anything about tailored media. As most of you know, LGBT smoking rates are through the roof, and most disparity populations also have disproportionate rates around tobacco: For example, Black/African-Americans have higher mortality rates, Asians are more likely to smoke the more acculturated to U.S. they get, Latinos have access to care problems that magnify the impact, and on, and on. The idea that the CDC wouldn’t use tailored ads in their never-before, humongous ad campaign was baffling… tailored marketing is how the tobacco industry built these disparities in the first place.

We urged them to include tailored media for all, including LGBT (We also urged them to buy ads in the LGBT blogs, which we hope might still roll out more in year 2).

Well, we’re happy to say not only have they done a few buys in LGBT media, but they’ve also rolled out this fabulous social media tailored ad! You can also check it out on the CDC tobacco free facebook page and on twitter at @CDCTobaccoFree!

Great job CDC 🙂

For more information and stats on smoking in the LGBT community, click HERE.

Conferences

Sunday Keynote: Cindy Stone

by e.shor

Cindy Stone = education and entertainment!

This afternoon Cindy presented a dynamic view into the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) and her experiences with being diagnosed and living with an intersex condition. To quote ISNA, “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” Cindy talked to us about the diversity of what this means…there are many different ways that this can manifest physically. Literally for some, this means having genitalia that do not look like a “traditional” penis or vagina (i air quoted tradition because I do not believe there is a TRADITIONAL set of genitalia out there), and for some this means having a seemingly “normal” external genitalia with internal anatomy that do not match the external (same goes for NORMAL). Sometimes the latter intersex condition can mean that someone with an external vagina may have testes internally and sometimes an XY chromosome. Here is a little video to help with the understanding…

I hope this is not confusing, because ultimately, what all of the discussions that I have had about intersex identities and conditions have come down to for me is this:

Every Body is Different. 

However, it is not that easy is it? It is not that easy because health care providers have been historically taking it into their own hands to prescribe gender to people at birth based on what genitals are between their legs…this is a problem when a doctor or a parent or a whoever decides to surgically alter a baby’s genitals to match some “traditional” allotment of gender. This surgery can harm or permanently distress a person’s ability to have sexual response. This surgery also brings up a whole host of ethical issues.

It is not easy because our health care system is not set up give access to people with bodies (or genders or sexualities) that are different. How do we increase access to proper, culturally appropriate care for intersex folks where the judgement and stigma about their bodies is not an issue. My only thought is to retrain our societal brain and then retrain doctor brains to reconceptualize “what the human body should look like.”

It isn’t easy because sex and gender are inextricably linked for a good portion of society. All of the stories of abuse of intersex folks, the surgery horror stories, the gender counseling, the putting of people in tidy boxes, it all comes down to gender liberation.

Conferences

Stuck in Milwaukee

by e.shor

The 2011 LGBTI Health Conference could not have come at a better time. I love a good conference just as much as any other justice minded queer, but on top of that, here in Minnesota we are dealing with some very real issues directly impacting LGBTQI health. Let me paint a picture for you…

14 days ago the Minnesota State Government shut down. Due to a partisan stalemate 22,000 Minnesotans were laid off from their jobs and thousands of health care services were limited or cut. Currently one the whispers from the legislature is “lez cut tobacco cessation and prevention money.” I don’t know if you all knew, but smoking prevalence is significantly higher in LGBTQI communities and the tobacco industry has us targeted in their marketing plans as a “vulnerable population.” It is queers, people of color, low-income folks that are the foci in the tobacco industry tornado, and it sure would be nice for some of those tobacco tax dollars would to go towards effective pubic health interventions directed at communities who need this support.

38 days ago the discrimination against transgender women of color in our criminal justice system was catapulted to the forefront of our community in Minneapolis. On June 5 a young transgender woman of color was the sole person arrested after she was the victim of a hate crime in front of a local tavern. She is being charged with the death of one of the perpetrators. As a community organizer I am not privy to the details of the case, but I know that violence was instigated through hate speech, oh, and a glass object thrown to her face. In prison she did not receive proper medical care and suffered from infections in her face, on top of being put in solitary confinement due to her trans identity. These are only two of the instances of violence that she endured since being added to the disproportionately long list of transgender women thrown in jail. Violence against transgender women of color is not just an issue in the prison industrial complex, but in the criminal justice system, the health care system, and pretty much every other SYSTEM out there.

So…I am going to this LGBTI Health Summit, and I am wondering what we as community are going to do to mitigate the violence against transgender women of color as a community health issue? And how are we going to talk about promoting healthy smoke free spaces and cessation programs to queer folks? Oh, and what do the conversations look like about homelessness, sex work, access to competent providers, transition care…and…and…we have a lot of learning and work to do.

For now I am stuck in the Milwaukee airport, but I am excited see you in Bloomington!

LGBT Policy · Research Studies

CDC Releases Historic Disparities Report: News on LGBT Health? No Data.

Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
 

CDC Releases First of New Reports on Health Disparities

I have to confess, back in college when I worked at a health library, there was one publication that I would regularly mock, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Yup, nothing seemed to quite encapsulate “scintillating” as much as that title. Sigh, which is why I guess it’s now my lot to actually list that as one of my most used resources in my adult life. Can’t even remember what was funny about it now because it’s just the highly esteemed MMWR in my mind, source of all of CDC’s breaking news and information on population health trends of every stripe. Well almost every stripe.

So, Friday CDC used the MMWR to release the first in a regular series of reports on health disparities. We had a heads up midyear this report might exclude LGBT folk altogether, so we did a little work a ways back to confirm that it would not make that big omission, and Friday we were happy to see that yes, LGBT people were in the report. But, the news is … barely.

LGBT Inclusion?

First flip was to the chapter on tobacco. Now we know that CDC included an LGBT measure on their recent National Tobacco Survey, but unsure if these data could make it into this report. And the verdict is? The chapter notes increased LGBT tobacco prevalence (great!), but “Although multiple tobacco-related disparities exist, this report highlights only racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities because of limited data for other demographic groups.” Sigh, ok.

What about the chapter on suicide? Sadly news just came across my desk earlier this morning about yet another gay youth who allegedly committed suicide after experiencing bullying at school. So what does CDC say about LGBT suicide rates? That they are nearing epidemic proportions? Not exactly. Eighth paragraph or so of that chapter includes this line: “Because the variables included in U.S. mortality data are limited, the results cannot be used to determine potential factors related to such disparities as mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or income.”

In desperation, I flip to the chapter on HIV, sure enough there I can at least find some data for MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) health disparities. But even then, I scratch my head, has the flaw of categorizing transgender women as men been fixed yet? Despite shockingly high rates of infection reported by some transgender needs assessments, this information remains hidden with the current HIV reporting methods.

No LGBT Data Now But CDC Calls For Change!

Well, many of us already know one of the biggest problems with federal health systems is they don’t collect any LGBT data, therefor unwittingly hiding all our health disparities. So the gaps in this report are distressing, but aren’t really news. So, does CDC address this at all? I’m happy to say yes they do. In the introductory Rationale For Regular Reporting on Health Disparities and Inequalities chapter their longest paragraph is titled Gaps in Data Regarding Sexual Orientation. The paragraph reviews how Health People 2010 highlighted population disparities by measures including sexual orientation (Healthy People 2020 includes gender identity in this lineup) but briefly reviews how this goal wasn’t matched with supporting data collection. They review the few federal surveys that have any data at all and strongly conclude:

“To fill this notable data gap, national and state surveys should begin consistently and routinely measuring sexual identity, orientation, and behavior. Data collection should be expanded to include not only age, sex, education, income, and race/ethnicity, but also disability, geographic location, and sexual identity or sexual orientation. Only then can health disparities be measured thoroughly and accurately nationwide.”

Excellent! Hear hear! How wonderful that CDC is calling for an end to this data desert that is holding back so much work on LGBT health disparities! (And let’s hope the gender identity inclusion gets carried over from HP2020 as well.)

Change Starts At Home: CDC Funds Major Data Collection

CDC controls many of the pursestrings for major health data collection systems. Looking at Grants.gov I see that as we speak states are finalizing their proposals to CDC for $45M they are offering for state health data collection through the BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System), I know CDC puts out even more for the youth version of that survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. But right now, $0 of that $45 million goes to LGBT data collection. (though some states take the initiative to add it themselves) While it’s hard to see how invisible we are in the newly released health disparity report, perhaps the call for data can shepherd in a new era. But until we see tested LGBT measures on every major health survey I hope we keep reminding policymakers at every opportunity: stop allowing LGBT health disparities to be hidden.

See Full Disparities Report here.

Also let me give a big shout out of thanks to all the LGBT community members and allies at CDC that helped shine this spotlight on LGBT data gaps and health issues.

 
Action Alerts · Tobacco Policy

FDA Comments Requested on Tobacco Product Advertising to Youth and Racial/Ethnic Minorities

On June 22, 2009, the President signed the Tobacco Control Act into law.  The Tobacco Control Act grants FDA important new authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is soliciting information, research, and ideas to assist FDA in fulfilling its responsibilities regarding tobacco product advertising and promotion that is designed to appeal to specific racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States.  For the same reasons, we are also interested in receiving information about advertising and promoting menthol and other cigarettes to youth in general, and to youth in minority communities. After reviewing the submitted information, research, and ideas, FDA will be better able to fulfill its responsibilities under The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act).

We are requesting comments that will assist the agency’s development of an action plan regarding enforcement of regulations on advertising and promotion of menthol and other cigarettes to youth generally and to youth in minority communities. FDA is also seeking information that will assist the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee in understanding and developing recommendations regarding the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes among children, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other racial and ethnic minorities.

Those interested persons can submit electronic or written comments by July 26, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.  Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov under [Docket Number FDA–2010–N–0207] Tobacco Product Advertising and Promotion to Youth and Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations.

For more information contact Kathleen K. Quinn, Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, 9200 Corporate Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850–3229, 240–276–1717, e-mail: Kathleen.Quinn@fda.hhs.gov.

Sincerely,

Mary C. Hitch
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of External Relations
U.S. Food and Drug Administration