In This Issue
LGBT Health Awareness Week
LGBT Health Awareness Week is March 25-29, 2013, "Come Out for Health"
Link to existing apa event
Greetings from the Health Initiatives Task Force (HIT) of Division 44! We want to draw your attention to the 11th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week: March 25-29, 2013. The National Coalition for LGBT Health has selected the theme "Come Out for Health" this year, and we invite you to explore the many resources offered by the Coalition on their Website:
NOTE: Link to APA.org resources under /events/2013/ event detail page has all the links
Sample Press Release
Things You Can Do
Affordable Care Act—Advocate's Toolkit
Be sure to read over the “Things You Can Do” resource list from the Coalition, as there you will find many useful ideas for ongoing involvement in LGBT health advocacy. As we all know, LGBT individuals fear discrimination from health providers, and LGBT individuals may not access timely care and may not disclose identities or discuss concerns with providers due to these fears or previous negative experiences with providers. Additionally, health providers often do not receive adequate training for how to respectfully provide care for LGBT individuals and may be unaware of many healthcare system barriers faced by LGBT communities.
Psychologists can have a profound impact on improving LGBT health. We list below a few ideas for practitioners to consider when thinking about LGBT Health Awareness Week and beyond:
Listen for clients' fears of discrimination from health care providers. Help LGBT clients identify goals in communication with providers and become informed of their rights and healthcare choices.
Identify local, statewide, and national LGBT healthcare resources. A good first step is to contact the nearest LGBT community center to better understand available resources or barriers.
Assist clients in exploring their options in coming out to providers and identify a support network to help clients through that process. Keep in mind that for some people, especially for LGBT older adults and/or in rural communities, the coming out process may"look" quite different than for younger or middle aged adults in urban centers. Meet clients where they are at in this important area.
Become informed about further economic and legal challenges for LGBT individuals with additional minority identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, acculturation status, disability, socioeconomic status, geography) and identify relevant resources and support for your clients.
Spread the word to other psychologists and to other health care providers about LGBT Health Awareness week.
We know you have many great ideas for how to participate in LGBT Health Awareness Week, and we would enjoy hearing your plans.
And now for a brief overview of HIT. As some know, HIT was created to foster inclusion of LGBT psychological, behavioral health, and substance use/abuse issues in national health care discussions and in primary care settings. HIT accomplishments over the years include participation in various federal health projects and initiatives as well as collaboration with LGBT health organizations, such as the National Coalition for LGBT Health (NCLGBTH) and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA). We also coordinate LGBT health advocacy efforts with Clinton Anderson, PhD, and Ron Schlittler, MIPP, of APA’s Committee on LGBT Concerns (CLGBTC) within the Public Interest Directorate. (By the way, do visit the CLGBTC Web site for more specific resources related to psychologists and LGBT health: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/lgbt-health.aspx).
APA is clearly identifying health as a key strategic goal through creation of the Center for Psychology and Health (see the January 2013 Monitor on Psychology) and through explicit attention to examining health disparities (see the February 2013 Monitor on Psychology). On a national level, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will prompt more attention to overall health care as well as to improved healthcare for vulnerable populations, such as LGBT.
We are encouraged by unprecedented changes and discussion about LGBT health from many departments within the federal government!
Given all of the health activities within and beyond APA, we write to you with renewed energy and hope that you join us this year in becoming more involved with LGBT health concerns and advocacy. We plan to write other articles in the Newsletter this year focused on distinct topics within LGBT health, such as challenges faced by LGBT youth and young adults, challenges faced by LGBT older adults, and distribution of LGBT health resources and scholarship projects for Division 44 members. For example, JAMA published an article on “Current Treatment Guidelines for Transgender Adults” in February 2013. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continued its efforts to expand research on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) populations with the release in January of the NIH LGBTI Research Coordinating Committee’s (RCC) Plans for Advancing LBGTI Health. The plans are the next step in implementing the recommendations from the 2011 NIH-commissioned study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. The IOM report acknowledged the limited opportunities for conducting NIH-sponsored research on LGBT health and recommended NIH pursue more research on LGBT health issues. For more information see www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2013/01/lgbti-research.aspx.
Stay tuned in 2013 for more ideas and information on how psychologists might address LGBT health considerations across practice, scholarship, teaching, and advocacy fronts. Please do consider joining HIT, sharing your work in LGBT health, and contacting us with questions and comments. Thank you! —Linda Travis, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Edward Callahan, Edward.email@example.com, HIT Co-Chairs.