News & Announcements

Advocates Raise Awareness of Range of LGBT Health Issues: Programs Address Disparities, Needs

Posted: September 01, 2014

While HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment remains a prominent issue in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, staff at health centers such as Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago know it is not the only public health issue of concern to the population.

Take smoking, for example. With research showing smoking rates are higher in the LGBT population, the center partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago to launch “Bitch to Quit,” a smoking cessation study and intervention that provides nicotine replacement therapy and trained smoking cessation counselors to help people quit. More than 250 LGBT smokers have joined the study since 2012.

“There are very high rates of smoking in the LGBT population, particularly among bisexual men and women, as well as lesbian women,” said David Munar, Howard Brown’s president and CEO. “We’re excited about it because nicotine addiction and smoking correlates with so many chronic health conditions.”

Health centers geared toward LGBT health, such as Howard Brown, are scattered throughout the nation. But while there are go-to places, LGBT public health advocates know that to fully address these needs, health care facilities and health professionals nationwide need better education on LGBT health issues.

Those issues are many and varied. For example, according to the “Women’s Health USA 2011” report from the Health Resources and Services Administration, lesbian women were less likely than heterosexual and bisexual women to get a Pap smear, a preventive exam that could detect cervical cancer. The report also said lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to smoke and binge drink compared to heterosexual women.

Older LGBT adults and seniors are more likely to have higher rates of chronic mental and physical illness, higher rates of HIV/AIDS and more likely to forgo necessary medical care, according to a report released in 2010 by the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. Related issues include not having health care professionals experienced in dealing with with an aging LGBT population or being placed in nursing facilities that may be unwelcoming to LGBT seniors, the report stated.

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Call for Abstracts: Affordable Care Act and Best Practices for Hispanics

Posted: August 29, 2014

Join the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) as it celebrates its 19th Annual Conference with partners from the public and private sectors, bringing together experts from across the nation to share their multi-disciplinary experiences in improving health care delivery for Hispanic populations. National and international experts will present on current innovations in medical homes, accountable care organizations, health insurance exchanges, prevention, integrative care, e-health, and cultural competence for the growing Hispanic populations in the U.S. Disease areas include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and more. CME credits to be provided.

Conference Speaker Abstracts

If you are interested in speaking at the annual conference or would like to nominate an individual, the abstract form is now available. Please be sure to submit the completed form by September 30, 2014.

Read more and download the Abstract Submission Form.

Connect 4 Mental Health® Community Innovation Awards

Posted: August 28, 2014

Connect 4 Mental Health® (C4MH) will issue four awards to U.S.-based community programs exhibiting innovative work in the four C4MH pillars — early intervention, creative use of technology, continuity of care, and service integration (one winner in each pillar). Winners will exemplify the mission of C4MH, implementing approaches that support individuals living with serious mental illness and their families, and that also may positively impact the communities in which they live.

Each of the 2014 Community Innovation Award winners will receive a $10,000 award and access to a one-on-one mentorship program featuring exemplary community-based programs with expertise in the four C4MH pillars. Winners will also be featured on the C4MH website and highlighted in future media announcements. The deadline to apply is October 3, 2014

Award submissions will be judged based on the program’s impact on the community, measurability/sustainability and effectiveness in building community partnerships, among other considerations. 

Read more about the awards program.

El Paso Homeless Shelter to Focus on Female Veterans

Posted: August 27, 2014

Slightly more than a decade ago, Hope Jackson, who reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army, was serving in the Middle East and entertaining thoughts of retiring to her native Florida after 25 years in the military.

Instead, Jackson, 49, found herself in the middle of the West Texas desert, overseeing the renovation of a three-bedroom house that will be a shelter this fall for as many as 12 homeless veterans. Carrying a child’s enthusiasm and few regrets about how her fate has changed, Jackson said she was doing what her faith dictates she should. “God spoke to me,” she explained. “He said he wanted me to take care of his children.”

The children, Jackson said, are female veterans who have served their country honorably but have since fallen on hard times. There was no better place for Jackson’s mission than El Paso, where she returned after her deployment and which is home to Fort Bliss, one of the largest military installations in the country. But as celebrated as veterans are in the city, El Paso lacks resources for homeless female veterans.

In October 2011, Jackson used her own money to buy a $70,000 house on the city’s northeast side that she calls the Rutherford House of Peace. It is one component of her plan called the HOPE (Healing, Optimizing, Perfecting and Empowering) Institute, which will include a similar unit for female veterans with children two miles away.

The program will include classes on topics ranging from basic hygiene to credit repair, homeownership and résumé building. The first 16 weeks are paid for by the HOPE Institute, Jackson said. After that, tenants need to have a job. “If they can’t, then they need to be re-evaluated,” she said.

The situation in El Paso became dire about two years ago, she said, when the Department of Veterans Affairs stopped allowing shelters or group homes to house both male and female veterans.

The El Paso Coalition for the Homeless put the number of homeless veterans in the city at about 154, with an average age of 49. Most, about 89 percent, are men. (There are about 1,400 homeless.) Jackson said the number of homeless veterans, women included, was much higher. The Rutherford House of Peace will serve women living on the street as well as women in transition who “stay on couches” with friends or family members.


Growing Up Poor Impacts Physical, Mental Illness in Young Adults

Posted: August 26, 2014

Socioeconomic adversity during childhood increases the likelihood of both depression and higher body mass index (BMI) in early adolescence, which can worsen and lead to illness for young adults, according to a new report. The study found that growth in depressive symptoms were predictive of the incidence of sexually transmitted infections while growth in BMI was associated with several health risk measures, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and overall health rating.

“Certain stresses manifest through increases in poor physical health, as shown by an increasing BMI over adolescence, or through worsening mental health, as shown by increases in depressive symptoms. These developments contribute to young adult physical health,” said Kwon.

“As subscribers to the ‘life course’ theory, we know experiences in early life affect you later—even if they’re latent for a while—and that these stresses can be compounded,” said Josephine Kwon, M.S., of the department of human development and family science at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Kwon and her co-authors used data obtained from more than 12,000 adolescents, ages 12 to 19 years enrolled in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on four different occasions, or waves, between 1995 and 2001.

They measured total socioeconomic adversity by weighing factors such as average parental education, family economic hardship, family make-up and employment status. They measured health effects by calculating BMI, assessing depressive symptoms and self-rated general health and by counting the occurrence of eight physician-diagnosed diseases or health problems during the final years of the study.

They found that adolescents with more socioeconomic adversities had more depressive symptoms and higher BMIs initially and had worse trajectories over time. Higher levels and growth of depression and BMI were associated with higher counts of young adult physical illnesses and worse self-rated general health. Kwon and her colleagues also looked at specific biomarkers of health, like blood pressure.

Read more on Read the abstract of the study.

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