Leading LGBTI health researcher Dr. Scout this week publicized a meeting and ground-breaking opportunity related to the health of US-based LGBTI people.
In his Huffington Post article, Scout noted that at a recent meeting of activists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIH announced three pieces of good news: 1) They have added gender identity to their nondiscrimination protections, 2) They now have a staffer whose job is to recruit more LGBTI staff to work at NIH, and 3) They have issued a formal Request for Information.
It’s that Request for Information that is particularly important, as it represents our chance to give input to the federal government about our health. Scout says, “Simply put, this is the health version of the Supreme Court saying, ‘So what do you think we should do about gay marriage?’” He urges people to use the online form at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=34
He recommends skipping the first (methodological) question and using the other comments fields “to speak up about poor treatment you’ve had by providers and suggest research into interventions that can change that too-common phenomenon. Or maybe you want information on our cancer disparities, what (if any) risks there are with long-term hormone use, interventions that can help stop youth suicide, why bisexual people report higher health disparities…. Or maybe you want to tender a few pointed ideas on training providers or supporting new researchers, or how NIH can get practical health information out to us….”
The Huffington Post article is available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scout-phd/nih-launches-unprecedented-call-for-input-on-lgbti-health_b_3528077.html
The formal NIH description of the project is at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-076.html
A promising new academic journal focused on health issues affecting LGBT people of all ages, LGBT Health, is due to launch later this year.
The editorial board line-up bodes well for coverage of aging issues and, especially, transgender issues. Brian de Vries, Ph.D., longtime LGBT aging researcher at San Francisco State University, is one such member. Many familiar transgender researchers have been recruited, as well, including A. Evan Eyler, M.D., Louis Gooren, Ph.D., and Sam Winter, Ph.D.
Sign up for email notices of the publication of LGBT Health editions by emailing journalmarketing3 [at] liebertpub [dot] com. For a news release on the journal, surf to http://www.sciencecodex.com/new_lgbt_health_journal_launching_in_2013-105787
Today the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued new “Plans for Advancing LGBT Health Research” (at http://www.nih.gov/about/director/01032013_lgbt_plan.htm) and a report by the NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee, “Consideration of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Individuals” (at http://report.nih.gov/UploadDocs/LGBT%20Health%20Report_FINAL_2013-01-03-508%20compliant.pdf).
Wondering what the federal government has done for the LGBT community lately? A good place to start getting answers is an 11-page-long report that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published last month, available at http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/lgbthealth_objectives_2012.html
The report goes over nine 2012 objectives. Those most relevant to LGBT aging issues include:
- Releasing a report that “identifies the gaps and oppportunities in its portfolio in light of the recommendations that the Institute of Medicine made in its 2011 report entitled, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.“
- Funding five pilot studies to reduce obesity in lesbian and bisexual women.
- With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assessing the impact of new chronic disease prevention programs on LGBT populations;
- Conducting a comprehensive review of LGBT cultural competency training curricula and improving training for programs delivering integrated health services to LGBT clients; and
- Through a partnership between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Administration for Community Living, “release a training video to educate long-term care ombudsmen, surveyors, healthcare providers, and state and local government officials about LGBT older Americans, the impacts of the social stigma on this community, and the rights of consumers in nursing homes, hospice, and health care. The video will highlight best practices, identify resources to support LGBT older adults, and give instruction on what to do if one becomes aware of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, CMS will clarify its rules governing nursing home visitation rights, which are already in place and apply equally to those with same-sex domestic partners.”
The report also notes that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Administration on Aging has issued five grants focused on improving behavioral health services and on suicide prevention among older people. Two of theswe grants — to the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston — specifically target LGBT seniors.
Do you know what a health disparity is? How about health equity?
Simply put, a health disparity is the poorer health one group has compared to another. LGBT people have more depression and anxiety than non-LGBT people, when you compare the groups’ averages. African-Americans and Latin@s are far more likely than white people to contract HIV/AIDS. An important aspect of health disparities is that “[f]or people who belong to mulitple communities that experience health disparities, these disparities do not simply add up: They multiply.” Thus, African-American LGBT people, on average, have poorer health than either white LGBT people or African-Americans who aren’t LGBT.
Health equity is the opposite concept: rather than focusing on the differences, health equity focuses on where we want to be: attaining the highest level of health for all people. A good short article on these concepts, with multiple links, is available at http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/04/27/472826/health-disparities-lgbt/
In time for December 1st’s World AIDS Day, the first-ever clinical treatment strategies for managing older people with HIV were issued. Continue reading
The Caring and Aging with Pride study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging, has published preliminary findings of its nationwide survey of 2,560 LGBT adults aged 50 to 95.
FORGE’s Transgender Aging Network was one of 11 partnering groups that helped recruit participants in the study and that are helping shape and disseminate its results. The 4-page preliminary report briefly covers key findings about service needs, physical and mental health, health strengths and risks, health care access, and health behaviors. The full report will be available in Fall 2011.
This report, The Health Report: Resilience and Disparities among LGBT Older Adults, includes the following highlights:
- Nearly one-half of LGBT older adults have a disability and nearly one-third report depression.
- Two-thirds experience verbal harassment and 40% physical violence.
- Among transgender older adults, 22% need to see a doctor but cannot due to cost.
- Most LGBT older adults (91%) engage in wellness activities.
- 88% feel good about belonging to the LGBT community.
- 15% fear receiving health services outside the LGBT community.
- Two-thirds report the need for senior housing, social events and transportation.
You can access the preliminary report at http://depts.washington.edu/agepride/docs/Prelimin_Findings_Report_FINAL.pdf
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week responded to a mandate by President Obama to “explore additional steps HHS could take to improve the lives of LGBT people.” The mandate had been part of President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum on Hospital Visitation, which he issued last April.
“For too long, LGBT people have been denied the compassionate services they deserve,” the statement begins. “That is now changing. HHS continues to make significant progress toward protecting the rights of every American to access quality care, recognizing that diverse populations have distinctive needs. Safeguarding the health and well-being of all Americans requires a commitment to treating all people with respect while being sensitive to their differences.” Continue reading
Whew! Lots of new documents and resources out this past week! We’ll review some of the key findings of them over the following days, but for those who can’t wait, here are the links:
The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding — groundbreaking report by the Institute of Medicine. Available here: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/The-Health-of-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-and-Transgender-People.aspx
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has a new web-based collection of caregiving resources at http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resources.cfm?s=3
Changing the Game: What Health Care Reform Means for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/03/pdf/aca_lgbt.pdf
The Health of Aging Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults in California http://www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu/pubs/files/aginglgbpb.pdf
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Administration on Aging (AOA), and other partners have just released a new report that may help LGBT older adults’ programs target their health promotion efforts.
“Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults – Closing the Gap” looks at 15 key preventive and screening procedures that are recommended for older adults. For eight procedures, state or national data is presented on how many older adults do and don’t receive the procedure, sometimes including state-by-state analyses and/or data on certain subpopulations. (While the report mentions there are health disparities by demographic groups, including “sexual orientation,” it does not report on any of the studies that have looked specifically at LGBT older adults and their access to health care.) The eight featured preventive services are: vaccinations that protect against influenza and pneumococcal disease; five screenings for early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, lipid disorders, and osteoporosis; and one counseling service for smoking cessation. Data wasn’t available to provide similar analyses of the remaining 7 recommended procedures: alcohol misuse screening and counseling, aspirin use, blood pressure screening, cervical cancer screening, depression screening, obesity screening and counseling, and zoster vaccination.
The report also includes some brief profiles of programs that have successfully increased older adults’ use of these key preventive and screening procedures; these may provide ideas to LGBT older adult programs that would like to undertake more health promotion activities.
You can download the whole 40-page report at http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/Clinical_Preventive_Services_Closing_the_Gap_Report.pdf