Network Pitches HuffPost to Launch Wellness Page & They Do!!!

Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

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?)Screenshot 2014-02-24 12.30.55

But why have an ok idea if a great idea is waiting in the wings? All my media friends keep saying, “don’t start a new blog, write for someone else”. So that got me thinking, and long and we thought, what if we could get the largest LGBT media outlet to start a page focused on LGBT wellness? We immediately sent off an email and asked the intrepid Noah Michelson, the editor of Huffington Post’s super popular Gay Voices page if he’d meet with us and within a day we were sitting in the Huffington Post fancy offices (I’m not sure Noah has an office, I think we met under a stairwell) telling him how no one was talking about how the whole wellness revolution was affecting queers, and we had this vision of a new Gay Voices page which could be an anchor for wellness writ large. Social support, getting over barriers to healthcare, exercising more, eating better, staying tobacco free, taking care of our mental health, everything we do to make ourselves healthier every day — Gay Voices could have one page showcasing all of this.
Little did we know we arrived at just the perfect time. Noah told us all about how Arianna Huffington had been talking with a mutual friend, Hilary Rosen, about what else, what else went into a life well lived beyond the usual suspects, money and power. Hilary hit the nail on the head, “So you’re looking for the third metric?” And if you notice, there’s been a whole upsurgence of #thirdmetric focused reporting across the whole Huffington Post website ever since. Well… our idea was a perfect fit with this concept. To our surprise, and happiness, Noah was on board right away. Let’s do this!
Let’s also give a little context. As Noah told us that day, Huffington Post Gay Voices gets 80k people visit it every day to see what’s new. That’s huge, 80k people a day going to the site to find out whassup. That’s not even counting the number of people reading stories which are pushed out.
So after a swath of planning time, we could not be more proud to report that Huffington Post has now launched their new Gay Voices Wellness section. Now their reporters and bloggers can tag stories to go straight to this page, or you can visit it to get all your LGBT wellness inspiration. Liz and I have promised to blog like mad for the page, and we’re trying to get other HuffPost bloggers turned on to post more health stories as well. So make it your goto for health and be sure to send kudos to Huffington Post as well! Check the page out directly here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/lgbt-wellness/.
FDA · LGBT Policy · Tobacco Policy

FDA Launches Youth Anti-Smoking Campaign, with LGBT Effort to Follow



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.100_4885

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.



Hello from PROMO & SAGE Metro St. Louis’ LGBT Health Policy Change Project

Tracey PROMOTracy McCreery
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO

Hi, my name is Tracy, and yes, like Scout said in his intro post, I’ve been leading an LGBT health policy change project in Missouri for the last year. It’s really been a fascinating journey, and as I get ready to end my tenure on this project (and move onto running for public office again!) I’d like to talk about some of the strategies we’ve used and the lessons we’ve learned. As you can guess, there have been a few surprises en route!

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we looked at the criteria the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) used for their Healthcare Equality Index (HEI)- a good benchmark to use for measuring policies. The HEI’s “Core Four” criteria for LGBT patient-centered care are 1. patient non-discrimination 2. equal visitation 3. employment non-discrimination and 4. training in LGBT patient-centered care.  One of the bonuses of using the HRC tool is that it has allowed for collaboration with local HRC folks. So few institutions respond, we realized one of the things we had to work on was getting more to fill out the survey. We focused on the biggest employers in the state, because the HEI looks at policies not just with consumers but with employees too.

We found a list of the 50 biggest private employers in the state, then prioritized seven of the biggest hospital systems to focus on initially. Then we started our legwork, trying to see what we could discover about their protective policies by searching online. We knew this, only one had even filled out the HEI the year before. But to our surprise, we found many more with protective policies. But frankly some of those policies existed but were not well publicized at all. You’d think if we just searched for LGBT on their website it would all come up, but that wasn’t always the case.

This led to a discussion about what were the necessary components to effective policy change. Ultimately, we all agreed — policy changes without adequate promotion aren’t real policy change at all. If a patient isn’t easily provided with the information that they have protections against discrimination, then are they really protected?

After doing this research we realized our change needed to focus on both policy adoption, and policy promotion. It seemed like getting agencies to promote policies they already had would be easy, so we tried to focus there first.

One of the challenges is finding the right person to contact at each institution who would even know the information to answer the HEI. You have to call and call and be transferred all over, it can be really challenging. The hospital that had a department focused on diversity and inclusion was the easiest, but no one else had a department like that. Overall we never found a single rule to help identify who the key person who might be in charge of adopting or promoting policies, we just called the front desk and started asking around.

Stay tuned, next post I’ll talk about our first hospital system.

Lessons from a Big State LGBT Health Policy Change Project

Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

Who’s got some of the best funded and staffed health policy change work in the country? Stop thinking coasts, because the answer will surprise you… Missouri. For a little over a year now the Missouri Foundation for Health has been funding locals to use their civil rights skills to change health policies to better serve the long overlooked LGBT population.

MO Group Photo
SAGE’s Sherrill Wayland and PROMO’s Tracy McCreery with Scout & Gustavo

For the last year we’ve had the pleasure of being the technical assistance provider to this Missouri-based collaboration aimed at changing health policies in the state to support LGBT health. Now we know health policy change is the most durable way to invest resources, because it lasts long after the funding is gone. We also know that the focus on policy change has really been amped up in recent years. Beyond that we know one more thing: there are very few resources to find out how to do policy change for LGBT wellness. Many of us are incorporating policy change into our goals, but it’s a newer field for the arena, we have fewer precedents to guide us. That’s why we are pleased to introduce a tiny series of blogs from the great folk in Missouri – telling us some of the lessons they’ve learned in the last year of LGBT health policy change work there.

Without further ado, please welcome Tracy McCreery, from the Missouri equality advocacy organization, PROMO. Tracy and the head of their partner group, Sherrill Wayland from SAGE Metro St. Louis, are the two person team who’s trying to change LGBT health in Missouri, one policy at a time.


Introducing our Collaboration with the National LGBT Cancer Network!

Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
As we rebuild and retool under the new cancer & tobacco cooperative agreement there’s lots of great things percolating that we want to tell you about. First and foremost, let’s introduce our newest compatriots in the fight. Because when CDC told us to expand into LGBT cancer we of course reached out to the experts — the National LGBT Cancer Network! So we are now formal partners on this cooperative agreement so you’ll see lots of stuff coming out from them in the coming months.
You’re jumping into the story right as the Cancer Network starts with a splash, because this week they’re a historic event… but let me not tell you about it, let me instead introduce one of our new regular contributors, the Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, Ms. Liz Margolies.

Summary of Our 1st Career Dev Webinar: LGBT Opportunities at NIH

Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Are you a student interested in health? Then we need you to get graduated and trained as fast as possible — because we desperately need more leaders in LGBT health and health research. We’ve got major gaps in LGBT health research, esp in tobacco & cancer & subpopulation disparities… and we know we won’t get those gaps filled until we expand the pipeline of incoming researchers. The Network for LGBT Health Equity has had great experiences in youth development over the years, and we’ve had some really positive collaborations with junior researchers, see our recent Huffington Post piece as one example of that fruit. So we love spreading the word about health needs through the ranks of next leaders and clearly offering you career development insights is one smart way to do that. So — if you weren’t able to join us for the NIH leadership webinar, see some highlights here, and if you’re interested in being notified of future health leadership development opportunities, email us directly at healthnetwork@lgbtcenters.org.

Our birdseye view into Dr. Milgram's office as she trained us on NIH training.
Our birdseye view into Dr. Milgram’s office as she trained us on NIH training.
Dr. Sharon Milgram is the head of NIH’s Intramural Office of Training & Education. She gave us a great romp through the many training opportunities NIH has for everyone from high school students (Summer Internship Program) through to postdocs. First step in finding out about most of these is heading off to http://www.training.nih.gov and exploring the options that fit you. Actually that Summer Internship Program (SIP) is one of the most popular programs and a great way to start off before you go for more indepth commitments, (like their sweet $20k a year scholarship programs). If you want to get in the SIP they’ve got a video on the website about how to apply. Important thing to know is that the application just puts you in the database for folk to search, in order to really be in contention you need to find researchers whose work interests you and contact them. Now to be fair, one of the webinar folk searched the intramural research database and not one instance of “LGBT” or even “gay” research is in it… so Sharon urges us to be openminded about what we can maybe add a good LGBT perspective to! And if you can’t figure out which scientists have work that fits, Sharon has offered to be a matchmaker for folk, you can contact her directly at milgrams@od.nih.gov, and tell her we sent you!

I’m not sure I can wait long enough for the youth of today to take over the world, so again if you’re interested in more career development webinars like the one today, email us directly at healthequity@lgbtcenters.org and we’ll contact you when we run the next webinar.
LGBT Policy · Resources · social media · Uncategorized

Out2Enroll: Getting LGBT communities connected to care!

Network for LGBT Health Equity
Out2Enroll LGBT Communities 

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

Want more information? Check out this report or head right to Out2Enroll.org!

*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 lgbthealthequity@gmail.com!

Presentations · Staff/Program Updates · Updates · webinar

Join Me For a Live Webcast: The Passion and Power of Young People in the Ongoing Fight Against Tobacco

Kenneth E. Warner | Lecture Series

The Passion and Power of Young People in the Ongoing Fight Against Tobacco


Wednesday July 24, 2013 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar



In-person attendance is limited to those attending the CTFK Youth Advocacy Symposium and Legacy Youth Leadership Institute Training. No registration is necessary to view the live webcast.


On Wednesday, July 24th, Legacy and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) will host a special youth-led panel discussion, as part of the Kenneth E. Warner Series Lecture, which will highlight the power and passion of youth engagement in tobacco control.

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)


  • Chad Bullock, Founding Director of Forget Tobacco
  • Kaitlyn Reilly, Communications Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Anna Santayana, Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for Legacy (Former crew marketer for the truth®tour)
  • Lee Storrow, Managing Director of the NC Alliance for Health and Member of the City Council for North Carolina Chapel Hill (Former Legacy Youth Board Liaison)

& Yours Truly…. 

  • Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager for the Network for LGBT Health Equity


For more information, please contact Laura Cruzada at lcruzada@legacyforhealth.org or 202-341-0324.

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
Creating Change 2013

Recap – A Flashback of Creating Change Day 3

Trevoi pic
   Trevoi Crump
   Guest Blogger 
  Recap – Creating Change Day 3 
“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.” – Isaac Asmiov

•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. 

Until next time