Press

HHS report details progress and new goals on LGBT health issues

Date: 
June 20, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT:

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, June 20 — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its annual report of steps it has taken to promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The report outlines new goals for the coming year, as well as accomplishments from 2011.

Goals for 2012 include continued efforts to address discrimination, harassment and violence through domestic violence resources and prevention programs; funding pilot studies aimed at reducing obesity in lesbian and bisexual women; and support for initiatives to reduce and stop smoking with special emphasis on high-risk populations, including LGBT youth. Accomplishments from 2011 include continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the re-launch of http://www.StopBullying.gov, which contains specific information for LGBT youth to deal with bullies; and the creation of an LGBT youth suicide task force.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force works closely with HHS on LGBT health issues through the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of organizations it coordinates that advocates for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes benefiting the lives of LGBT people. Through the work of the New Beginning Initiative, the Task Force has been a key player in making sure the health needs of LGBT people are addressed at the federal level.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"This report is a reminder that the health needs of LGBT people and our families are being addressed at the highest levels of government. Each of the policy changes listed affects real people and real lives, and we commend HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration for their efforts supporting the health and well-being of LGBT people and families. These victories are just the beginning — not the end — of what needs to be done to eliminate disparities and ensure optimal health for LGBT people. We look forward to our ongoing work with HHS to address the critical health needs of LGBT people and our families."

Task Force and New Beginning Initiative's specific work on these HHS objectives

The Task Force and the New Beginning Initiative have played a key role in many of the changes outlined in the report. They include:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in partnership with the Administration for Community Living, will release a training video to educate health care providers and others on the needs of LGBT older Americans in nursing homes, hospice facilities and home health care. The video will outline best practices and instructions on how to identify and address discrimination. The New Beginning Initiative and the Task Force's Aging and Economic Security Project coordinated the involvement of key LGBT stakeholders, LGBT health experts and LGBT older adults to be a part of the video.

  • The National Institutes of Health will release a report identifying opportunities and gaps that currently exist in the biomedical research field in relation to LGBT people. The Task Force is leading advocacy efforts on this initiative, including its 2010 "Queer the Census" campaign that mobilized the grassroots to urge policymakers to begin this type of data collection to ensure LGBT needs are recognized and met by the government.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support a number of Community Transformation Grant awardees who work on the health needs and well-being of specific communities. The Task Force has been working closely through the New Beginning Initiative with a number of coalition partners to ensure that a large portion of the grantees target LGBT communities.

  • HHS agencies will create and implement a plan to distribute culturally competent training tools and guidance for substance abuse, mental health and health care providers so they can appropriately assess, treat and refer LGBT clients. The Task Force has been a key stakeholder on this advocacy project and in compiling resources from a variety of LGBT organizations. These efforts have been coordinated through the New Beginning Initiative.

To learn more about the HHS report, go here.

Learn more about the New Beginning Initiative here.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. © 2012, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.