March 23-27 marks the 13th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week, created by the National Coalition for LGBT Health. During this week, we encourage all to examine how LGBT-specific health concerns and disparities have affected our lives and the lives of our loved ones. This year’s theme is “Time to Come Together: Trust, Transparency, Truth.” As the Coalition explains:
- “It’s Time to Come Together across settings and disciplines to participate in discussions about LGBT health disparities, and advocate and educate on critical healthcare gaps and needs of LGBT individuals.
- It’s time to build more TRUST that our providers and the healthcare system are sensitive to and addressing our personal identities and health needs.
- It’s time for TRANSPARENCY in our healthcare systems to be more open and honest about services and costs to help ensure greater access to healthcare. We must advocate for authentic and complete data collection of sexual orientation and gender identity to reflect reality.
- It’s time to tell the TRUTH. We must be honest about our sexual orientation, gender identity, and health needs with our providers and the healthcare system overall.”
First observed in 2003, the purpose of Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week is to increase LGBT health awareness and outcomes, as well as to promote the need for greater cultural competency in the health care system to better serve the needs of LGBT patients. The National Coalition for LGBT Health is a collaboration of leaders from national and state LGBT organizations, health centers, health departments, universities, health organizations, clinical and behavioral health providers, and LGBT individuals and allies. The Coalition aims to help eliminate LGBT health disparities through public education of LGBT health needs, expansion of LGBT-focused health resources, and changes to private and public sectors laws and policies that affect LGBT care.
There are a number of online events happening this week in honor of LGBT Health Awareness. A webinar titled It’s Time for Trusting Relationships will occur on Wednesday, March 25 at 4:00 PM. The webinar is for all care providers and it will address the healthcare needs of the LGBT community and how providers can change their procedures to better fit these needs.
On Thursday, March 26, the congressional briefing It’s Time for Transparency will highlight why greater transparency within private and public payer systems and more accurate and authentic data collection within the larger healthcare system is critical to LGBT health.
Want to be a part of the conversation? Throughout the week, share your thoughts on the present and future of LGBT health care via social media by using the hashtags #TIMETOGETHER, #TIME4TRUST, #TIME4TRANSPARENCY, #TIME4LGBTTRUTH, and #LGBTHealthWeek.
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