I assure you, we have plenty of ideas which are horrible, but some of them are good, and a few might even be great. Last Fall, as the head of the Cancer Network (Liz) and I were talking over how to spread more LGBT wellness messages we tossed around a bunch of ideas. Our running favorite for the longest time was to start a new blog, one that had less policy (like this one) and more of a focus on wellness things individuals could do. (Because really, this blog spends a lot of time talking public health wonk talk, and we hear there are some people who couldn’t care less about that. <– crazy tho that may seem) We even came up with a name: Rainbow Chard. (Come on, crack at least a small chuckle, ok?)
Corey Prachniak is an LGBT rights, HIV policy, and healthcare attorney. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Network for LGBT Health Equity and tweets @LGBTadvocacy.
This morning at the National Press Club in Washington, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled a $115 million anti-smoking campaign aimed at youths – the first-ever such campaign in the FDA’s history. Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, explained that the effort would specifically target “on-the-cusp youth smokers,” aged 12 to 17, who either had recently begun smoking or who were open-minded to trying it.
Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, noted that when compared to regular smokers, these “at risk teens are even harder to reach because they don’t even see themselves as smokers.” Instead, they believe that they are only casual users who will not get hooked.
I had the opportunity to ask the panel about their plan to prevent smoking among LGBT youths. Much as Director Zeller noted that at risk youths don’t consider themselves smokers, many youths might not consider themselves LGBT, and are instead are still processing how they feel or working on coming out.
Responding to my question, the Center’s Director of the Office of Health Communication and Education, Kathy Crosby, said, “We understand that there are sensitivities and we understand that there are cultural issues, as well,” in reaching LGBT teens. Crosby noted that while the campaign on the whole targeted youths aged 12 to 17, they will launch a subsequent LGBT campaign that may instead focus on 17 to 18-year-olds who are more likely to identify as LGBT. The hope is that by targeting that subgroup, the message will trickle down to younger teens who are entering the LGBT community.
Ms. Crosby noted that this LGBT sub-campaign is still in the initial stages of development, and will likely take one to two years to take off. Director Zeller added that the LGBT effort will have “similar themes” to the broader campaign being launched this month, but will be “more targeted” to LGBT youths.
Directing anti-smoking efforts at LGBT youths is necessary given that the LGBT community has long been a target of tobacco corporations – and has disproportionately high rates of tobacco use to show for it. According to research recently compiled by the Network, LGBT people smoke at a rate that is 68% higher than the population as a whole. Although the LGBT community spends $7.9 billion – with a “b” – on tobacco products each year, crucial Surgeon General reports on smoking did not even mention LGBT people until a 2001 document entitled “Women and Smoking.”
The new FDA campaign, entitled “The Real Cost,” will “highlight the real costs and health consequences of tobacco use” by focusing on things that young people care about, such as outward appearance and having control over their lives, said Commissioner Hamburg. The FDA’s research – which will continue for two years as they track 8,000 teens exposed to the ad campaign – revealed that these concerns are more relevant to young people than are long-term consequences, such as heart and lung health, that seem too distant to be real threats.
“It’s different than what we’ve heard before,” said youth activist Daniel Giuffra, “and I think teens will respond to this.” By using social media in addition to traditional media buys, Mr. Giuffra believes the campaign will “get a conversation started, something we haven’t been able to do before.”
It is a conversation that the LGBT community – and their advocates – desperately need to have.
The Network for LGBT Health Equity, along with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers would like to announce the roll-out of our #GetCovered ad campaign, highlighting the experiences of uninsured and underinsured LGBT folks and the barriers they faced accessing healthcare prior to the Affordable Care Act. We hope that it both educates and motivates people to visit Out2Enroll to sign up before the open enrollment window closes on March 31st, 2014!
Out2Enroll is a collaboration by the Sellers Dorsey Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Federal Agencies Project to educate LGBTQI communities about their options under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).
A study by the Center for American Progress discovered that a whopping 71% of uninsured LGBT people don’t know their options under the new healthcare act. LGBTQ people are less likely to be insured, and less likely to seek or be able to access preventative care. While the Affordable Care Act is in the beginning stages, this is the perfect opportunity to spread the word in our communities about the significantly expanded options available now, including:
– LGBT people and their families have equal access to coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces in every state.
– Plans will cover a range of essential benefits such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, reproductive health, emergency-room care, and prescriptions.
– No one can be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
– Financial help is available to pay for a health insurance plan, based on household size and income.
– There is family coverage that is inclusive of same-sex partners
*And remember! In order to get health insurance coverage by January 1st 2014, you must enroll by December 15th 2013!
Check out the powerful images below, and feel free to download and share (Click to enlarge). This campaign will have a series of phases, with more photographs being posted to our blog and social media channels- so stay tuned!
We want to send out a huge thank you to the folks who shared their stories with us! Also a big thanks to the organizations that we have co-branded with- Center for Black Equity, Trevor Project, and GetEqual.
Would your organization like to co-brand with us on any of the above ads? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Passion and Power of Young People in the Ongoing Fight Against Tobacco
Young leaders will discuss the challenges and successes of the movement and, with the upcoming release of the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report, its significance in the future of tobacco control for years to come.
The live webcast will be archived for your convenience.
Moderator: Ritney Castine, Associate Director of Youth Advocacy, CTFK (Former Legacy Youth Board Liaison)
& Yours Truly….
For more information, please contact Laura Cruzada at email@example.com or 202-341-0324.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org):
- Current copy of the individual’s CV or Resume
- Statement of Interest from the nominee (maximum of 250 words)
- Complete an online application questionnaire
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:
- Current copy of the individual’s CV or Resume
- Statement of Interest from the nominee (maximum of 250 words)
- Complete a general online application or youth application (must be completed by the applicant)
All Nominations must be submitted on or before Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by 3PM EST
To: email@example.com Subject: Steering Committee Nomination
•As I sit back and reflect on today’s festivities, I must say I’m completely in awe of all the information I consumed in one day. If you don’t remember, I’ve prepared a little refresher for your memory•
1. National Black Justice Coalition: This workshop was presented by Sharon J. Letterman-Hicks, Rodney King, Jr, Kimberly McLeod, and Je-Shawna Wholley. This workshop was absolutely amazing. It was great seeing so many young African American LGBT students, who are already activist in their local communities such as Marcus Lee from Morehouse, who wanted to know how to implement more programs such as NBJC on his HBCU college campus; or Shaunda from Boiling Springs, who took her issue of not having enough support from her own African American peers at her school, to the NBJC board members in hopes they would come up with numerous game plans to promote a change in that matter. I think this workshop was a sigh of relief for all college students in attendance. We saw the worries of other students, as well as heard the cries for help on each of their college campuses, but moreso, I myself felt better knowing that I’m not doing anything wrong , it’s not me. I was reassured to continue fighting for my rights as an LGBT African American young man.
2. Sex (Education) is a RIGHT: What a powerful workshop! It started off on a great note, I mean I was pretty friggin’ excited. Well, truthfully the topic “Sex Education” is what I really went for. Lol! But, I’m glad I did. The presentation, the presentors and the seminar it self completely dynamic; they took sex education to another level and made it easier to fully understand. They stressed the importance of knowing and understanding your sexuality, but most importantly practicing safe SEX! They informed us on how the term “abstinence” til marriage is not necessarily a bad thing, many of us often beat ourselves up over being a virgin! But, it’s a GREAT thing to hold on to your innocence for aslong as you can. I definitely walked away from this seminar knowing way more, than I did before I arrived in Atlanta.
Lastly, today during the plenary we recieved the ultimate surprise. That’s right, President Barack Obama sent a video message to Creating Change, during his message he stated “And Today, you’re helping lead the way to a future where everyone is treated equal with dignity and respect, no matter who they love or where they come from.” He then concluded his address with these words, “I’m more confident than ever that we’ll reach a better future as long as Americans like you keep reaching for justice and all of us keep marching together.” It seems no matter which session I attened today the message was all the same, Equality never sleeps, we must press on daily working towards the prize which lies ahead.