The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Tips for how to get health promotion messages into LGBT blogs

By Scout
Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
Reporting from Netroots Nation LGBT Pre-Conference, Minneapolis, MN

It's a packed room of bloggers and LGBT orgs at the Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf

We all have to build new skills

Remember just last year when many state dept of health folk were blocked from Facebook, Twitter and other social media? Well, perhaps because the feds have set a standard of using social media for their routine promotion work, we all now realize that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… all these are tools we will need to understand and use in order to ace health promotion work in this new era.

Well, despite the fact that you are reading this on a blog, don’t think we’re not as overwhelmed with all these new media as everyone else. We’re trying our hardest to learn how to use these new tools effectively. But boy it’s a lot.

Many of you know, lots of our LGBT print media has already gone out of business, some have switched to an all online format, some have just folded. This struggle is one of the reasons why the print media is really susceptible when folks like RJR Reynolds start pumping SNUS ads. Like happened in Minnesota, it’s often a real challenge to get the magazine or newspaper to refuse these ads in todays world. Face it, this is one of the main reasons why we have to struggle to raise awareness that we have health disparities like our crazy high smoking rate. It’s long past time for us to take some tips from major corporations and start being more savvy about how to get healthy messages integrated into LGBT media. But how do we do it with a fraction of their funding?

So, you know we’re at this Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf today… I’m listening avidly to all the many LGBT bloggers in the room. Let me share a bit of what I’ve learned about smart strategies for getting those healthy messages into LGBT online media.

First, what are the bigger LGBT blogs?

It’s a little hard to figure out exact readership, and some focus more on social versus serious messaging, but at least each of these LGBT blogs should be on our radar screens.

Tips for getting coverage in LGBT blogs

  1. Buy ads in them! Yes, the blogs are absolutely independent, but this is one way to start building a relationship which helps get your news noticed.
  2. Offer to write for a blog. One of the big ones, is actively seeking new contributors now, go on, sign up, one way to get health covered is to write the posts ourselves.
  3. Repost their stories on Twitter/FB, comment on the stories online, just start engaging with them.
  4. Make a short list of the editors of each of those blogs and send them press releases whenever you think somethink is news. Don’t worry if it’s not national, local is ok too. Pics help too.
  5. Give bloggers scoops or first rights to breaking news, this is one fast way to build a relationship.
  6. Write op-eds about health issues and submit them to blogs (customize them for each submission). See some of the op-eds we put up on the IOM report to see a sample of style.
  7. Did I mention buy ads on them? This seems to be a seriously underutilized strategy. Yet some of the blogs above get 40k views/day… that’s a lot of eyeballs we’d like to have reading our health messages, right?

Many of these strategies will work just as well for your local LGBT media as well. And many of them can be real smart strategies for health departments or hospitals to use as a way to demonstrate that your services are LGBT-friendly.

OK, now off I go to try to put some of these strategies into action!


June 15, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, APHA, Blogs en español, Break Free Alliance, CPPW, Creating Change, Creating Change 2010, Creating Change 2011, Minnesota, National Coalition for LGBT Health, NatNet, Presentations, Puerto Rico, Resources, Scholarship Opportunity, social media, Steering Committee, Tobacco Policy, two_spirit_wellness, Uncategorized, USSF, USSF_mlp, webinar | , , , | Leave a comment

In Awe of San Juan: Guest Report on 1st LGBTT Health Conference

Tom Rachal, Steering Committee Member

by Steering Committee member Tom Rachal

Reporting on the First LGBTT Health Conference in Puerto Rico

Have you ever spent an entire day attending a LGBT Health Conference and were glad you did?  Was that conference entirely in Spanish and you don’t speak the language?  Was that conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico only a few blocks from the sandy beaches?  Well, I, along with several members of the Steering Committee of The Network for LGBT Health Equity,  have just returned from such a conference and how glad I am to report it was absolutely outstanding!

The Puerto Rico Health and Tobacco Summit was attended by an overflow crowd, and they provided an excellent English interpreter for those few of us who do not speak their language. The entire program was filled by presenters who had their own Powerpoint presentations, and at no time was I ever bored by the information they provided.

Juan Carlos Vega (left) & Tom Rachal (right)

I learned many great things there but the one I find most disturbing is the following.  There are some unique problems on this beautiful isle which most of us do not face on a daily basis.  Hate crimes against LGBT people are rampant, the police don’t conduct proper investigations and many such crimes are not ever solved.  But, nonetheless, these are strong people who are determined to overcome all obstacles placed in front of them.  They will eventually win over their opposition… it is just a matter of time.

I cannot remember when I was so warmly greeted by the host organization as I was here in San Juan.  When you visit here, I am sure you will be glad you did and will dislike having to fly back home as I had to last week.

Tom Rachal

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Presentations, Puerto Rico, Steering Committee | 1 Comment

Steering Committee Convening Report Out

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

As you know from last week’s post the Network for LGBT Health Equity met for our first in-person convening of 2011. As our third meeting, this was our most important meeting yet as we convened to make important decisions discussing our current structure and determining our future course.

Nine Steering Committee members and our three staff met on February 28th and March 1st to discuss the Network’s strategic plan. We got the ball rolling on examining our mission, values and vision, and further conversation will clarify those to report them out  to you. Major goals were set for the Network which will affect our work for the upcoming years. These goals will influence how we operate, what our activities will be and how our programs develop in areas of tobacco and expansion. During this meeting we also discussed our communication strategy and how that can evolve in a meaningful way. We also reviewed Steering Committee applications and new logo ideas. Three Steering Committee candidates were chosen, and once we have acceptances, we will announce those new placements.

Overall, the meeting was very successful. With only two days, the Steering Committee provided productive advice on how we will move forward after reflective debriefing of recent developments. In addition, we’ve set in motion means in which to efficiently follow through on each of these pieces. As we work on these pieces in the future, we’ll be informing you all of those updates and soliciting comments on key components.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of this trip was the location in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the warm weather and beautiful beaches of course. However more importantly, we were able to connect with local advocates who were putting on the 1st ever LGBT Health Summit in PR. It was truly inspirational and moving to meet the dedicated and passionate advocates.

Stay tuned as we announce detailed updates on these pieces!

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Steering Committee, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Steering Committee Planning in Puerto Rico


Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

By Emilia Dunham

Program Associate


The Network for LGBT Health Equity is meeting for our first in-person convening of 2011. As our third meeting, this will be our largest meeting yet as we convene to make important decisions discussing our current structure and determining our future course.

9 of our 10 active Steering Committee members and staff are charged with clarifying our vision and goals. We are continuing to define our program goals for both tobacco and expansion to direct our future work.

While here we will we also consider applicants to fill our three open Steering Committee positions as well as considering new branding. We have some logos to consider which we will share shortly for you all to consider the best options.

Following our Steering Committee, we will participating in the First LGBT Health Summit which we co-sponsored with the coordinators (local advocates and the National Latino Tobacco Control Network.) Later there will be a conference on tobacco which Scout and Franciso will present on LGBT tobacco trainings.  Also impressive this past weekend, Scout and Francisco were involved with a training of 700 local healthcare providers on LGBT cultural competency.

Picture of Steering Committee & Staff from 1st Convening

February 28, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico, Steering Committee | 2 Comments

The inaugural convening of our Steering Committee!

Wow. Yesterday was the first convening of our new Steering Committee, and well, wow. Despite mother nature’s best efforts to derail the convening (oddly Nicole from Hawai’i got there fine, but almost every other person had their original flights rerouted or canceled), we got 7 of our 13 new Steering Committee members into Boston and had more join by phone. We’d been looking forward to formalizing our community-based guidance through this group, but that almost sounds stuffy. What really happened was we got an amazing group of superskilled people teaming up to work, brainstorm, plan, and generally just wow me. I’d known them all before but I was just even more awed as I looked around the room and thought of the mad commitment and skills each of these folks brought to the table. We’ll keep you all apprised of the work of the group later (I for one am still digesting all the great ideas they tossed at us). But for now, I just want to say thank you to our new Steering Committee, I am very excited about our future because of you and I am deeply honored to be working with each of you.

Without further ado, let me introduce our stalwart volunteers, with my own terribly unofficial bio line on each.

  • Francisco Buchting, ETR Associates – Researcher and advocate for LGBT of color extraordinaire, longtime tobacco shaker, and the man who got the Steering Committee to happen!
  • Joseph Lee, UNC – Newcomer policy & evaluation wonk, probably best remembered for winning the “Stump The Scientist” tobacco lit review challenge a few years ago.
  • Tara Moore, DC – Hotshot youth advocate and performance artist, watch out, she’s already winning awards, and you might remember her as volunteering to chair the next Summit.
  • Tom Rachal , AK – Quiet and yet opinionated, he’s modeling how retirees should get into tobacco control after that other annoying career finally ends.
  • Ernesto Dominguez, OR – He’s been coordinating youth for several Summits now and when he’s not with tobacco, watch out other youth groups are snapping him up to advocate nationally.
  • Blue, MO – A chair of what, two of our recent Tobacco Summits, and a proud bi advocate, she’s also part of a tiny volunteer team creating a new LGBT community center in St. Louis.
  • Jennifer Woodard, CO – Also a former Summit chair and a freelancer now, but you might know her from her amazing work building a state tobacco network from scratch in Colorado.
  • Kitty Jerome, MA – A longtime Robert Wood Johnson project officer, Kitty is now freestyling, but she’s been bringing the LGBT voice to mainstream tobacco groups for E V E R.
  • Bill Furmanski, DC – You know him, you love him, the sporty V.P. of American Legacy Foundation and veteran of several Summit organizing committees.
  • Jaime Grant, DC – Maybe a bit less known to many of you, she’s head of NGLTF’s Policy Institute and in my mind, one of the best LGBT community visionaries I know.
  • Alicia Matthews, IL – A tenured professor at UIC, head of lesbian research at Howard Brown, one of the preeminent LGBT of color scientists, and also the Network rep to the recent Menthol conference.
  • Nicole Sutton, HI – The Director of the Hawai’i youth REAL tobacco group, folks around the country are trying to copy some of her amazing youth events.
  • Robert Yoon, OR – Man of many hats and even more outfits. He’s a cessation leader, runs the WA state LGBT network, and dresses like a supermodel in his spare time.

L to R Gustavo, Sasha, Joseph, Ernesto, Nicole, Blue, Francisco, Scout, Jennifer, Kitty

Can you please join me in welcoming each and every one!!


Network for LGBT Tobacco Control
A proud project of The Fenway Institute
Boston, MA

February 12, 2010 Posted by | Steering Committee | Leave a comment


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