Fenway and CAP Sponsor Pre-Conference Institute on LGBT Health at Creating Change Conference Featuring White House, HHS & VA Officials

Officials from The White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will join leaders from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organizations for a day-long institute on LGBT health and the Affordable Care Act on January 30, 2014, in advance of Creating Change 2014. The world’s largest LGBT activist conference, organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will take place in Houston.  Organized by The Fenway Institute and the Center for American Progress, the pre-conference institute will cover topics including:

  • How we can ensure culturally competent health care for LGBT people who now have greater access to health insurance and health care;
  • How we can reduce LGBT health disparities, such as lower breast and cervical cancer screening rates among lesbian and bisexual women;
  • How Houston activists are working to implement the ACA in ways that benefit LGBT residents;
  • How the failure of many states to participate in the Medicaid expansion hurts LGBT people and people living with HIV, and how LGBT people can join efforts to expand Medicaid access.

Despite all of the advances in rights and protections that have happened for LGBT communities over the last several decades, being LGBT in the US today can still be hard – and LGBT people experience significant health disparities. These intersect with racial/ethnic and other disparities. Discussions will focus on major current opportunities, including LGBT data collection in health care settings, transgender health coverage, and reducing HIV infection rates among gay and bisexual men and transgender women.  Participants include:

  • Gautam Raghavan, Public Engagement Advisor at the White House;
  • Matthew Heinz, MD, Director of Provider Outreach, LGBT Outreach, Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Michael Kauth, PhD, one of two LGBT Program Coordinators for Patient Care Services at the VA Central Office;
  • Representatives from The Fenway Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, the Transgender Law Center, the Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston, and others.

“We’ve seen unprecedented advances in LGBT health and HIV policy under President Obama and Secretary Sebelius, and we are benefitting disproportionately from the Affordable Care Act” said Sean Cahill, PhD, Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute. “This is the result of decades of work by visionary LGBT health advocates. In this institute we will demystify some of these policy changes and strategize about pushing forward where change is still needed.”

“LGBT health is an LGBT equality issue. Our well-being is the foundation of our ability to enjoy the all of the rights we are fighting for. Health touches on some of the most personal and powerful issues for LGBT people, including how we understand and care for ourselves, how we form and protect our families, and how resilient LGBT communities have developed strategies of struggle and pushed for change in the face of discrimination,” said Kellan Baker, Associate Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress.

The full agenda for the day, a list of speakers and more information about health disparities that impact LGBT people can be found here.

Creating Change is the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the LGBT community and their allies.  The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and attracts more than 3,500 people from all over the country every year. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations.

The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate.

For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless; struggling with substance use; or living with HIV/AIDS.  In 2013, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts joined the Fenway Health family, allowing both organizations to improve delivery of care and services across the state and beyond.

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