The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Special Report from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Jane McElroy, Network guest blogger

by guest blogger Jane McElroy

Unusual balmy weather in Toronto greeted attendees for the SRNT  (Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco) conference held this past week (Weds-Sat).

A handful of posters presented data focusing on the LGB(T) population and one seminar on HIV and tobacco use (4 presentations) reflected our light presence at this conference.  Although there was a health disparity seminar, the 5 presentations were about African Americans/Blacks, low income  and  Native American’s struggles with tobacco dependency.

Oral presentations included a wide variety of topics ranging from brain imaging and receptor studies to discussions on cue reactivity, quitline data, marketing, policy, and efficacy of cessation treatments, particularly the big 3: NRT, Varenicline, and Bupropion.  Sometimes these topics focused on a disparity group but often data reflected the general population.

Populations under study, besides the generic smoker,  included hard core smokers, light smokers, mentally ill, disparity groups (low income, Black, Native American, HIV-positive), and adolescents.

The Tobacco-Related Health Disparity Network (TRHD), one of six networks within SRNT, had a 7:30 breakfast meeting to cheer in the newofficers and introduce the network to all.  So many people got up early to attend this meeting that all tables were filled. A row of chairs was brought in for those arriving a little before the start time so they could eat their breakfast on their laps.  Attendees were equally divided among long standing members, first-time attendees to this committee, and first time attendees to SRNT.  The three standing committee–evaluation, scholarship and programs (Gary Humfleet, chair)–were soliciting members.

Check out the poster for this presentation here: Poster SRNT v7

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cardiovascular Disease Costs Expected to Triple

by Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Tobacco Control

American Heart Association Says Expect $550B Increase in Heart Disease Costs

American Heart Assocation released a report yesterday at a National Press Club briefing that found the cost of treating cardiovascular diseases is expected to triple over the next 20 years from $270B to $818B. According to AHA CEO Nancy Brown, “Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans.  Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, and cholesterol levels”. For a copy of the news release —, and the full report —

I’m hoping folk put this together with the news from the landmark IOM secondhand smoke report a year ago (showing 1/5 of heart attacks disappear if you simply pass clean air laws*) and keep the momentum up for clean air advocacy.

It seems like nothing talks like the dollar right now, and considering there’s been pushback against health care reform (which has been the main driver of prevention v. medical care shift), every inch of information that comes out showing prevention is cheaper than later medical care is welcome news.

*Thanks for our buddies at Advocates for a Healthier America for this news.
**This is still the biggest single health effect I’ve had a chance to witness in all my years as a public health professional.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arizona Requests Proposals for $400k of LGBT Health Projects

By Dr. Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity

Arizona Raises the Bar for State Funding

Kudos to the fine state of Arizona for releasing a call for proposals for $400k of LGBT wellness projects! This builds on a history of commitment the state has been growing for several years now to LGBT tobacco and health disparities. Years ago when we were invited in for a state LGBT meeting on tobacco disparities the tobacco director committed to ending the LGBT disparities in his state. We saw him follow it up with data collection and a direct funding to Prescott Pride Center. But now they’re really upped the game a notch, by offering $200k over 3 years for LGBT tobacco & chronic disease projects in the two biggest metro areas, Tuscon and Phoenix. It’s a great precedent I’d love to see other states follow.

Applications are due March 4th, and there’s a January 31st bidders conference for more information.

See the full application here:

Network Resources To Help Local Funding

This is a good example of what we at the Network try to do to help local funding flourish. We’ve already been in contact with the funder giving them advice on how to design a smart request for proposals. Likewise, we’ve been trying to find out what local groups might be staged to reply. Our goal now is to help make sure the funder gets the strongest possible applicants to their door. Below are some of the resources we offer to both states and local groups to help make local funding a reality. If you are interested in applying for this funding, please contact us directly and we’ll talk with you about support resources or webinars:

  1. State toolkit on how to fund LGBT wellness work
  2. Webinar for local groups on how to plan smart LGBT wellness projects
  3. Webinar on grantwriting
  4. Resources to help with literature reviews
  5. Sample proposals
  6. Individual grant review

In some circumstances we also do direct technical assistance with funded organizations after the awards, but for Arizona, the next step is getting some great proposals into the state!

Once again, great job Arizona!


January 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

CDC Releases Historic Disparities Report: News on LGBT Health? No Data.

Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity

CDC Releases First of New Reports on Health Disparities

I have to confess, back in college when I worked at a health library, there was one publication that I would regularly mock, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Yup, nothing seemed to quite encapsulate “scintillating” as much as that title. Sigh, which is why I guess it’s now my lot to actually list that as one of my most used resources in my adult life. Can’t even remember what was funny about it now because it’s just the highly esteemed MMWR in my mind, source of all of CDC’s breaking news and information on population health trends of every stripe. Well almost every stripe.

So, Friday CDC used the MMWR to release the first in a regular series of reports on health disparities. We had a heads up midyear this report might exclude LGBT folk altogether, so we did a little work a ways back to confirm that it would not make that big omission, and Friday we were happy to see that yes, LGBT people were in the report. But, the news is … barely.

LGBT Inclusion?

First flip was to the chapter on tobacco. Now we know that CDC included an LGBT measure on their recent National Tobacco Survey, but unsure if these data could make it into this report. And the verdict is? The chapter notes increased LGBT tobacco prevalence (great!), but “Although multiple tobacco-related disparities exist, this report highlights only racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities because of limited data for other demographic groups.” Sigh, ok.

What about the chapter on suicide? Sadly news just came across my desk earlier this morning about yet another gay youth who allegedly committed suicide after experiencing bullying at school. So what does CDC say about LGBT suicide rates? That they are nearing epidemic proportions? Not exactly. Eighth paragraph or so of that chapter includes this line: “Because the variables included in U.S. mortality data are limited, the results cannot be used to determine potential factors related to such disparities as mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or income.”

In desperation, I flip to the chapter on HIV, sure enough there I can at least find some data for MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) health disparities. But even then, I scratch my head, has the flaw of categorizing transgender women as men been fixed yet? Despite shockingly high rates of infection reported by some transgender needs assessments, this information remains hidden with the current HIV reporting methods.

No LGBT Data Now But CDC Calls For Change!

Well, many of us already know one of the biggest problems with federal health systems is they don’t collect any LGBT data, therefor unwittingly hiding all our health disparities. So the gaps in this report are distressing, but aren’t really news. So, does CDC address this at all? I’m happy to say yes they do. In the introductory Rationale For Regular Reporting on Health Disparities and Inequalities chapter their longest paragraph is titled Gaps in Data Regarding Sexual Orientation. The paragraph reviews how Health People 2010 highlighted population disparities by measures including sexual orientation (Healthy People 2020 includes gender identity in this lineup) but briefly reviews how this goal wasn’t matched with supporting data collection. They review the few federal surveys that have any data at all and strongly conclude:

“To fill this notable data gap, national and state surveys should begin consistently and routinely measuring sexual identity, orientation, and behavior. Data collection should be expanded to include not only age, sex, education, income, and race/ethnicity, but also disability, geographic location, and sexual identity or sexual orientation. Only then can health disparities be measured thoroughly and accurately nationwide.”

Excellent! Hear hear! How wonderful that CDC is calling for an end to this data desert that is holding back so much work on LGBT health disparities! (And let’s hope the gender identity inclusion gets carried over from HP2020 as well.)

Change Starts At Home: CDC Funds Major Data Collection

CDC controls many of the pursestrings for major health data collection systems. Looking at I see that as we speak states are finalizing their proposals to CDC for $45M they are offering for state health data collection through the BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System), I know CDC puts out even more for the youth version of that survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. But right now, $0 of that $45 million goes to LGBT data collection. (though some states take the initiative to add it themselves) While it’s hard to see how invisible we are in the newly released health disparity report, perhaps the call for data can shepherd in a new era. But until we see tested LGBT measures on every major health survey I hope we keep reminding policymakers at every opportunity: stop allowing LGBT health disparities to be hidden.

See Full Disparities Report here.

Also let me give a big shout out of thanks to all the LGBT community members and allies at CDC that helped shine this spotlight on LGBT data gaps and health issues.

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Repeal of Health Care Reform Would Cost $230B

Network for LGBT Health Equity
A proud project of The Fenway Institute

Thanks to our friends at Advocates for a Healthier America we were given a heads up about the new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the projected cost of next week’s planned vote to repeal health care reform. As you might guess, it doesn’t save money to eliminate our nation’s new focus on wellness, it costs the government money. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it’ll cost a whopping $230B in next ten years. Plus it’ll result in 32M more people being uninsured by 2019.

Obviously a few big organizations are already running campaigns to funnel public opinion about this move to congress, including a sweet short page by American Public Health Association that lets people send a letter in just a few minutes. See that here. If anyone else knows of any advocacy efforts going on from LGBT folks please give us a heads up. And let’s all hope next weeks voting brings the smartest decisions possible for the health of all of us.

Congressional Budget Office Score on Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Year = New resolution to break the nicotine habit

Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager

New Year = New resolution to break the nicotine habit

By Gustavo Torrez

As we enter the New Year, we all know that more people search for resources to kick the nicotine habit.

So, I wanted to take a moment to share a couple excellent resources with you all:


The EX Plan is a free quit smoking program that helps you re-learn your life without cigarettes. Before you actually stop smoking, we’ll show you how to deal with the very things that trip up so many people when they try to quit smoking. So you’ll be more prepared to quit and stay quit.

Whether this is your first try at quitting or your 10th, the free EX Plan can help you really do it this time. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PLAN


1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669)

Smoking cessation counselors from the National Cancer Institute are available to answer smoking-related questions in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m

For more information about 1.800.Quit.Now visit

While you are checking out these sites don’t forget to check out our site for some great resources compiled from the field. If you have some resources that we do not currently have or that may need to be updated send us an email.

Hope these resources help,


Program Manager

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Explanation for Our New Name: The Network for LGBT Health Equity


by guest blogger Francisco Buchting

The Network Steering Committee Chair

Hello fellow Network members,

We are very pleased to announce that our Steering Committee, in acknowledgment of our increased wellness work, has finished consideration of our name change and has voted to change it slightly from The Network to LGBT Tobacco Control to The Network for LGBT Health Equity. Over the next six months, The Network will begin to roll out a new promotion campaign to brand the new name and the expanded focus. Although our focus and majority of our work will stay the same, focusing on LGBT Inclusion and Tobacco Control, our mission will expand into wellness and health equity work inclusive of tobacco.


The Steering Committee for The Network has been engaged in strategic planning for the usual reasons you may expect, especially considering how best to ensure The Network stays relevant to its membership while staying at the cutting edge of tobacco work and emerging allied health areas.  Changing the name of The Network was something that initiated significant profound discussions at Steering Committee meetings.  In the midst of those proceeding, we realize that we, as Steering Committee members, needed more data to better inform our deliberations and be able to make the best recommendation on the name issue.  One of the action items that emerged was to conduct a survey of The Network’s membership to get a better sense of what LGBT health areas folks are working on, besides tobacco.  The results of the survey showed that the majority of the membership is working on other LGBT health areas in addition to tobacco and that there was an interest in obtaining information/resources on these other areas.  Coupled with these results and further Steering Committee deliberations, was a host of emerging issues, that led to the Steering Committee putting forth a recommendation for The Network to change its name to The Network for LGBT Health Equity and initiate a name changing communication process.  We believe that this and other measures will position this Network to stay competitive for future funding in tobacco and other allied areas beyond the current CDC grant, i.e., for this network to go on once the current CDC funding ends and not cease to exist.


The Steering Committee members are committed to the ongoing need for increased LGBT tobacco work as we plan for smart strategic sustainability and growth.  To that end, one of the things we have done as we continue to move through the strategic planning process is create two working groups composed of Steering Committee members.  One working group has been tasked with solely working on tobacco while the other group has been tasked with working on all other allied health areas.


Lastly, I have to let you know that the Steering Committee is focused not only on fortifying the tobacco work done through The Network and the goals of the CDC grant, but also ensuring that the Network can be sustained two years from now. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at and we can talk more about this exciting venture.



Francisco O. Buchting

Steering Committee Chair


January 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Action Alert: Tell Gov’t to Incl Trans Folk & Collect LGBT Data in Nu Health Plan!

By Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity

Spoiler: Only have 2 min to act? Skip down to the Red Headline for 2 Min version.

Deadline Today!! Draft Health Prevention Strategy Released, Comments Until Jan 13th.

As many of you know, health care reform included a mandate for heads of many federal agencies to get together in a historic collaboration to plan for better health prevention in our country. This is one of the many examples of a fundamental shift from health care into health prevention activities. Since we know tobacco, exercise, and nutrition problems cost us the most healthcare dollars (and more importantly, lives!) down the road, they are big foci of this new cross-government shift. So, this new National Prevention Council was seated, came up with a rough draft prevention plan that folks commented on, then had a stakeholders listening session last week. Well, I’m a bit behind so I didn’t even write up my impressions from that listening session yet (tho we did livetweet all about it) and bam, the group releases their next draft health prevention plan for comment. We’ve got until Jan 13th to give feedback, so please folk, take a minute and chime in. The document is short, really easy to read and simple to comment on.

See it all here:

Summary of Plan and LGBT Inclusion

There are 4 crosscutting strategic directions.

  1. (SD1) Healthy Physical, Social and Economic Environments
  2. (SD2) Eliminate Health Disparities: This includes LGB, but does not mention T!!! We need to get them to fix this! “Eliminate health disparities experienced by populations (e.g., based on race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, geography) in order to achieve health equity.”
  3. (SD3) Prevention and Public Health Capacity
  4. (SD4) Quality Clinical Preventive Services

Then six more after that.

  1. (SD5) Tobacco-Free Living: Excellent that this is first out of the gate, eh?
  2. (SD6) Reduce Alcohol and Drug Abuse
  3. (SD7) Healthy Eating
  4. (SD8) Active Living:
  5. (SD9) Injury-Free Living
  6. (SD10) Mental and Emotional Wellbeing: Including a mention of LGBT in a recommendation under this category. “(R) Promote resiliency, positive family and other social support systems, and community engagement throughout the lifespan and for at-risk populations (e.g., healthy development of LGBT youth, independent living for older adults).”

2 Min Action: Tell Feds Include Trans Folk & Collect LGBT Data!

Get ready.

When you click on link at end it’ll send you to input form, which then creates an email to send in. Copy the text below to paste into that form or feel free to say things in your own words.

They ask: “1. What are your suggestions on the Draft Vision, Goals, Strategic Directions, or Recommendations?”

You say: Include Gender Identity under SD2!

They ask: “4. What measures should be used to monitor progress on implementation of the National Prevention Strategy’s Vision, Goals, and Recommendations?”

You say: Collect LGBT data on all federal and state population surveys! Choosing to not collect data on our disparities helps perpetuate them.

Then press submit and it’ll make an email out of your comments, send it and you’re done!

Before you shoot off to the other screen, please help us get more comments in by using the “Share This” button below.

All set? Now go! Comment here


December 22, 2010 Posted by | Action Alerts | 3 Comments

Introducing Monthly Network Activity Reports

by all the Network staff

Wouldn’t An Occasional Overview Be a Help?

We try hard to tell folk about all the stuff we’re doing as we do it, but there’s lots of stuff happening these days so we’re really feeling the need to summarize every so often. Well each month we’re required to give an activity overview for the Board meeting of our parent organization, the mightily excellent (and tall) Fenway Community Health. But why keep that overview a secret. So… we’re going to experiment with posting that report here too. They want us to do our summary in a paragraph, which we fail at horribly, so you’ll see we gallop through things quite quickly. So don’t be shy about giving us feedback, we’ll keep tweaking for format until it works as well as possible.

November Activity Report

(as of Nov, 23rd, 2010)

Please bear with us as we report another month with lots of activity. This month we added two more nominations to our previous ones, nominating members for the National Advisory Council on Vital and Health Statistics and the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health. We were down in DC early in the month to present at two different meetings, the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting and NCI’s Tobacco Research Network on Disparities meeting. We had a score during this trip because after several inquiries, we were invited to meet with HHS staff to ensure adequate inclusion of LGBTs in the forthcoming (first ever) HHS Tobacco Strategic Plan. Later in the month we went down to attend the launch of the plan, and were very pleased to see all of our recommendations included. During the first DC trip we also participated in the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting with the Administrator of SAMHSA, in part getting her agreement to convene an ad-hoc LGBT community advisory group. This is part of larger ongoing work we’re doing with SAMHSA around their new LGBT and tobacco priorities. We were also able to give one scholarship to a blogger, Juan Carlos Vega. He not only did a yeoman’s job posting about the Coalition meeting, but we all stayed over to do a train the trainer with him and a doctor from Puerto Rico. They are going to adapt our cultural competency trainings to Spanish and use them to train 700 Puerto Rican doctors this March! But even more, at this meeting we helped the local advocates strategize a new event. So we’re happy to announce the first ever LGBT Wellness Summit is now planned for March 2nd, 2011 in San Juan PR!

We have several policy advocacy efforts underway this month. We have two open action alerts, one soliciting stories of LGBT discrimination for the Joint Commission, another soliciting feedback for the federal cultural competency standards. We also met with Dr. Bauer from CDC a second time to present our recommendations about how to integrate disparity populations in the forthcoming Community Transformation Grants. I’m very pleased to say we took the lead in drafting standards for disparity inclusion in all Request for Applications (RFAs), and CDC staff were *very* receptive, Dr. Bauer said she will try to include as many of our suggestions as possible in that RFA, and others. We weren’t able to directly attend a historic listening session HHS convened last week on LGBT data collection, but we  helped the community members coordinate our message, presented data resources to the meeting conveners beforehand, and have confirmation they’ll HHS staff will be talking with us further.

At a state level, we’ve continued our ongoing work with Minnesota, Missouri and Georgia. One new thing we debuted this month is a model LGBT Community Wellness Policy Scan survey, both Georgia and Minnesota may be interested in using it for their local work. We’re hoping standardizing some instruments like this helps us be able to roll together data from different localities. In another score, we helped Minnesota advocates prepare for a health meeting with their incoming governor, and as a result, the governor is now interested in adding an LGBT health expert to their state department of health management team! We’re also talking with Arizona Department of Health as they shape a forthcoming RFA to invest significant funds in local LGBT tobacco work there.

We’re trying very hard to use our blog to report more of our activities in real time and this effort is paying off. This month we had 500 readers in the first ten days alone and we’re getting a lot of praise on the blog from a wide variety of people. So be sure to catch our blog for the latest news or health reports from the field, or consider being a guest blogger!

Lastly and most important, we are very pleased to announce that our Steering Committee, as part of the recognition of our increased wellness work, has finished consideration of our name and has voted to change it slightly to The Network for LGBT Health Equity. Look for more on that change as we roll out this news to our constituents.

December 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment



CONTACT: Chris Viveiros


December 2, 2010


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took an important step today as they unveiled Healthy People 2020(HP2020), the blueprint for national public health prevention and policy goals for the next decade.  For the first time LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) health is recognized and there is clear acknowledgement that LGBT individuals experience health disparities that affect their health status.  LGBT health appears as a special topic area among the 42 listed within HP2020, andtransgender people are included in the document.  Previous versions of Healthy People referred only to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.  This success follows a decade of national community effort to document the health challenges confronted by LGBT persons. Information on the recommendations can be found at

The goals set forth in Healthy People 2020 will guide the allocation of federal public health resources for the next ten years.  The Fenway Institute has been a leading advocate for LGBT inclusion in this document since its last iteration, Healthy People 2010.  Both Dr. Judith Bradford and Dr. Scout from The Fenway Institute attended yesterday’s public launch event.

The LGBT topic area page speaks strongly about issues affecting the health of LGBT people, such as the impact of discrimination, the importance of widespread cultural competency, the LGBT community’s resiliency, and the need for routine and comprehensive data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual orientation and gender identity are also thoroughly covered in the Foundation Health Measure Report on Disparities, which is modeled on the core populations targeted in the Affordable Care Act for enhanced data collection around health disparities.

“LGBT people face a variety of specific health disparities and federal recognition is an important first step in addressing those disparities,” said Dr. Judith Bradford, Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute and Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health.  “Healthy People 2020 is a historic document; it moves us forward in our ability to enrich the knowledge base of LGBT Health issues.  The DHHS has ultimately acted to ensure that resources will be available for programs, services and research. Because of the tireless advocacy by community and academic organizations, as well as The National Coalition for LGBT Health and The Fenway Institute, we have made significant progress.”

Though Healthy People 2020 represents a major advance, increased inclusion in relevant topic areas remains a top priority.  As Healthy People 2020 evolves, we will continue to be proactive in our review of the objectives related to LGBT health in each of the topic areas and their implementation.

“These are wonderful gains. The inclusion of transgender people, the formation of the Health and Human Services LGBT Workgroup for HP2020, and  the creation of a new LGBT topic area is more than we initially expected.” says Dr. Scout, Director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity at The Fenway Institute.  “The one page summary of this document clearly lists their commitment to eliminating disparities for all LGBT people. There’s still work to be done, but today was the single largest step forward for LGBT health in years.”

During the public comment at the launch Assistant Secretary Dr. Howard Koh talked about efforts to find new ways to capture LGBT data, broadening the definition of disparity populations to include LGBT people with disabilities, and several other groups “It is excellent that they are looking at data collection,” said Dr. Scout. “Until we are routinely included in the demographic sections of health surveys, the lack of data about our health disparities limits our ability to take steps for improving them.”

Henia Handler, Director of Government Affairs at Fenway Health, home of The Fenway Institute, has been continuously involved in conversations with Healthy People staff since the development of the Healthy People 2010 Companion Document for LGBT Health. She concludes “Healthy People is an important resource for organizations hoping to address health disparities in grant applications and it’s the model for many state health plans as well. Hopefully, today’s launch of Healthy People signals a sea shift that will create changes in the lives of LGBT people everywhere.”

For nearly forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.  Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center is dedicated to providing the best quality health care for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else.  More about all of our programs and services can be found

December 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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