The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Puerto Rico is our dream!

by Scout

Program Director


Reporting on 1st LGBTT Health Summit in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit


Press on LGBTT Health Summit

Press on LGBTT Health Summit

First we watch the local organizers knock it out of the park with their first ever LGBTT health summit yesterday, but today it only got better. (FYI: two Ts because locally you say transsexual and transgender)
We wake up to hear the LGBTT Summit has gotten a big story in the main San Juan paper (see pic including quote by one of our favorite bloggers, Juan Carlos Vega). Then I bike over to the main Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit, where the happy news just keeps washing over all of us.

PR Tobacco Prevention Summit Flyer

First, even though the conference is sold out, since I’m from the Network for LGBT Health Equity, I’m welcomed as a VIP; then we see the cover of the program includes a rainbow; then we see every major sponsor of the LGBTT summit has been recognized as a sponsor of this event (including ourselves and the Latino disparity network) (see other picture); then we hear that the PR quitline last year started asking if callers were LGBTT; then we count and realize 6 of 8 conference breakout sessions include content by the LGBTT organizers; and then we learn that one month ago PR even added LGBT questions to their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (the main “state” health survey)! Can you believe it? I only wish half the states were as inclusive of LGBT and all disparities as is the fine US Territory of Puerto Rico.

AND they have amazing beaches! Let the emigration begin.


March 15, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | 1 Comment

Call for Applications: The 2011 Summer Institute in LGBT Health

Aimeeby Aimee Van Wagenen

Guest blogger / Program Manager of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health

Call for Applications:

The Summer Institute in LGBT Health, open to postdoctoral trainees, doctoral students and advanced Masters’ students, provides participants with foundational training in interdisciplinary theory, knowledge and methods for conducting population research in sexual and gender minority health. To be held July 18-August 12 in Boston, the Institute includes a 3 week seminar that will overview key topics, methods, and perspectives in the study of LGBT Health, a one week intermediate-level statistics and data analysis course, and hands-on training and supervision in work on an independent analysis project with LGBT population health data.

The Summer Institute is part of The National Mentoring and Training Program of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at The Fenway Institute and is co-sponsored by the Boston University School of Public Health.  Please visit to learn more about the program and how to apply.

There is no cost for tuition and slots are available for free housing in Boston University dormitories during the Institute.

Applications are due April 18, 2011.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Aimee Van Wagenen ( for further information.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recommendations of LGBT resources for CDC’s health equity users’ guide

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate


Two weeks ago, the Network was asked to offer some recommendations of LGBT resources for CDC’s health equity users’ guides. This was an exciting opportunity which we were glad to take on! We were asked to provide a list of websites, Some Culturally-Tailored, Evidence-Based Cessation Programs, and Some Promising Practices to Promote Cessation Among Certain Populations. We came up with quite a few key resources and thought you all might be interested to see what we sent but also for future reference.


  1. The Network for LGBT Health Equity website
  2. The Network for LGBT Health Equity blog
  3. The Last Drag, San Francisco: Free Quit Smoking Classes for LGBTI & HIV+ Smokers
  4. Out to Quit: The DC Center Tobacco Working Group
  5. California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership
  6. Center for Population Research in LGBT Health Data Archive:
  7. Rainbow Health Initiative
  8. Gay and Lesbian Medical Association: Tobacco Use and Interventions for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Individuals
  9. NYAC Tobacco Project
  10. Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine: LGBT page
  11. LGBT of Color Sampling Methodology
  12. THE SAFEGUARDS PROJECT: Tobacco Control page
  13. The Mautner Project

Some Culturally-Tailored, Evidence-Based Cessation Programs

  1. The Last Drag, San Francisco: Free Quit Smoking Classes for LGBTI & HIV+ Smokers
  2. Affirmations Community Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender People and their Allies (Ferndale, MI)
  3. Bitch to Quit (Howard Brown Health Center)
  4. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (NYC)
  5. Pacific Pride Foundation: Kick Butt Tobacco Cessation Program
  6. LGBTQI Stop Tobacco On My People
  7. West Virginia Covenant House
  8. Indiana Youth Group


Some Promising Practices to Promote Cessation Among Certain Populations

How to Run a Culturally Competent LGBT Smoking Treatment Group
Authors: Howard Brown Health Center, The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Provides recommendations and cultural competency suggestions based on a three year multi-site study that pilot-tested various recruitment methods and developed a model evaluation.

Promising Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs: Identifying and Eliminating LGBT Disparities
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This document highlights the measures states and localities should take when addressing tobacco control and wellness in LGBTQ populations.

“Heightening Tobacco Prevention in Consideration of Sexual Minority and Gender Variant Youth”
Compiled by Susan Hollinshead
This document explores the best practices when working with sexual minority and gender variant youth around tobacco cessation.

American Legacy Foundation Final Report
Final report on an LGBT forum with detailed recommendations for working with LGBT communities including a call for immediate scientific research and incorporation of LGBT communities into mainstream anti-tobacco work.

“LGBTQ Communities: Motivation to Quit Smoking” booklet
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders of Color Sampling Methodology: Strategies for Collecting Data in Small, Hidden, or Hard-to-Reach Groups to Reduce Tobacco-Related Health Disparities
Authors: ETR Associates, Network for LGBT Health Equity

Coming Out about Smoking: Tobacco Use in the LGBTQ Young Adult Community
Author: National Youth Advocacy Coalition
This report on LGBTQ youth tobacco attitudes presents prevalance rate and recommendations.

Creating an Effective Tobacco Plan for Minnesota’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities
Author: Rainbow Health Initiative
A community based report which addresses the prevalence of tobacco use, issues surrounding cessation, and attitudes toward smoke-free initiatives in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

Tool Kit for LGBTQ Organizations
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This tool kit dispel myths about tobacco control and serves as a guide on where to look for funding opportunities, with examples of model programs and suggestions on how to prepare a competitive proposal.

Tool Kit for State Funders
Author: The Network for LGBT Health Equity
This tool kit is designed to orient state funders on LGBT communities and provides links to LGBT organizations in your state as well as best case scenarios for engaging competitive LGBT applicants for tobacco control funding.

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2011 National LGBTI Health Summit in Indiana: Call for Abstracts

Dear Colleagues,

Indiana University Health Bloomington and the Local Steering committee of the 2011 National LGBTI Health Summit are proud to announce our call for abstracts. Abstracts may be submitted at until April 15th, 2011.

We invite you to spend a few days in Bloomington working intensively with colleagues from all over the nation and world who are grappling with similar challenges, and engage in deep thinking and extended discussion about innovative programming related to the theme of “LGBTI Health: At the Crossroads.” We welcome presentations from diverse health care disciplines, community members, and anyone with a vested interest in addressing LGBTI health discrepancies. Based on the content of the abstracts accepted for workshop presentations, the workshop will be organized into tracks.

Workshop tracks/themes may include:

  • Mental health care
  • Health disparities by age
  • Health disparities by race or ethnicity
  • Health disparities by sex or gender
  • Health disparities by sexual orientation
  • Substance abuse
  • Policy/Health care reform
  • And more.

The 2011 National LGBTI Health Summit will be held in Bloomington, Indiana on July 16-19, 2011 at the Indiana Memorial Union on the campus of Indiana University. We would like to invite all members of the LGBTI Community and their allies to join us in beautiful, Bloomington, Indiana. Please feel free to forward this message!

Patrick Battani

2011 National LGBTI Health Summit

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

LGBQQ Youths Wanted: For Online Health Behavior Survey

by John Blosnich, guest blogger


A research study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the West Virginia University (WVU) Department of Community Medicine seeks participants to complete an online survey about sexual orientation, health behaviors and life experiences.  We are looking for people who:

•     Are between 18-24 years of age

•     Identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or questioning (i.e., sexual minority)

•     Have 15-20 minutes to complete an anonymous, online survey

The survey website is:

If you deem it appropriate, we would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along this information to others who might qualify to participate.  For more information, contact John Blosnich at 304/293.1702 or email

This study has been reviewed and approved by the West Virginia University Institutional Review Board and approval is on file.

Thanks for considering,


John Blosnich, MPH

PhD Candidate, Public Health Sciences

West Virginia University Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center

Department of Community Medicine

Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Action Alert: Letter to CDC to Include LGBTs in Data Collection!

by Emilia Dunham

Network Program Associate

You may recall our report from Creating Change when we mentioned a letter to CDC we were circulating to urge CDC to include LGBT questions on their surveys. At Creating Change we asked folks to sign on to the letter in person and received over 250 signatures! However, before we send the letter, we’d like to offer the opportunity to anyone who wasn’t in Minneapolis that week.

EDIT: A recent blog entry by Scout shows that the Institute of Medicine’s new report urges the need for LGBT data collection.

Dear CDC:

You just released a report on health disparities – what does it say about LGBT health? No data.

At the same time you released $45M for state data collection. How much went to collecting LGBT data? $0

Please fix this problem. We applaud you for calling for data collection in your disparity report. Now we ask you to follow through and do it. Please make LGBT data collection a routine part of all your health surveys. Our health depends on it.



If you haven’t already done so, please take just a minute to sign on in support of LGBT inclusion. Click here to sign.

Please respond by April 1st, 2011.

***NEW DEADLINE: TUESDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2011*** Signatures will be accepted through April 1st, but may not be time to include in official letter.

Thank you!

The Network

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, Creating Change, Creating Change 2011 | 3 Comments

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

Network February 2011 Summary

As usual, February has been a very busy month for the Network. One major effort was assessing our current years progress and developing an action plan for the future year as part of our re-application for next years CDC award (year four of the five year cooperative agreement). We are happy to report that we have already exceeded our two major foci for the current grant year: expanding our social media presence and engaging people in direct advocacy. The hub of both successes has been our blog with over 7,500 views so far this fiscal year, it is rapidly becoming one of the largest LGBT health blogs online.

We are pleased to report great success at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s annual Creating Change Conference in Minneapolis. Not only did we have Scout and Emilia live blogging from the conference, but we sponsored three blogging scholars to present a well-rounded report on the event: Dean Andersen, Megan Lee and Sasha Kaufmann. Together, we wrote and publicized 24 blog entries on this premier gathering of LGBT leaders. We are happy to say that in line with our goals and expansion, Creating Change has significantly expanded health programming in the last three years. For example, there’s now a routine pre-conference institute on LGBT health; this year Scout participated by presenting on HP2020. Our other major effort at Creating Change was to get signatures for a letter to the CDC requesting routine national LGBT data collection. This was a response to CDC’s lack of data and simultaneous call for data collection in their new health disparities report. We collected well over 200 signatures, exceeding our original goal of 70. In other small data related issues, we are pleased to be informally helping National Center for Health Statistics as they conduct historic cognitive testing on LGBT surveillance questions and we have joined the organizing team for a forthcoming transgender surveillance meeting being led by The Williams Institute.

In addition to Creating Change, Gustavo presented at the Food and Drug Administrations, Center for Tobacco Products Stakeholder Discussion Series Session focusing on Minority Communities and Groups Affected by Tobacco-Related Health Disparities in Oakland. Also Scout facilitated the first LGBT community meeting on health and wellness in Atlanta. We’ve been providing technical assistance to Atlanta’s Lesbian Health Initiative as they conducted the first ever LGBT wellness survey and focus groups. This community meeting was the next step in this process, engaging leaders to participate in tobacco and wellness action planning.

A major gain that took place within the last month was the Arizona Department of Health’s announcement of $400K for LGBT Health Projects. We have been supporting and advising Arizona in best strategies for funding local groups, now we’re offering technical assistance to the applicants. In a similar vein, we are helping Iowa Department of Health find ways to integrate LGBT work in their forthcoming low socio-economic status tobacco award. Following up with last month’s news about SAMHSA’s request for enhanced LGBT plans in their state suicide funding, we collaborated with The Trevor Project, The Equality Federation, and CenterLink to conduct a technical assistance call helping local groups contact their states to advocate for smart LGBT strategies in the state proposals. While the health topic isn’t a focus area for us we have strong hopes the strategy will be a successful one we can deploy for the soon-to-be-released Community Transformation Grants (see the new White House press release with detail on this funding). We were very pleased with initial results: we engaged 44 new (to us) LGBT groups from 21 different states with this single event.

-Your Friends at The Network

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

PR LGBT Tobacco Survey

Emilia Dunham, Network Program Associate

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting on the 1st ever LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico


I had the joy of attending the history-making LGBT Health Summit in Puerto Rico. There were some fascinating reports and presentations with useful resources and information with fabulous panelists, presenters and participants. There was a huge emphasis on tobacco in the community throughout the conference and one of the workshops below directly addresses tobacco.

Dr. Elba (second from left)

Dr. Elba Días Toro presented on cancer research and tobacco use on her survey of 1,500 participants in PR.  This survey received advice of the Network in its development. Dr. Toro and her team looked for instruments that were used in the United States for the LGBT community to improve survey. The survey was also available at this Summit for participants to take.

So far the results are showing that 40% LGBT smoke regularly which is significant because only 16% of U.S. population smokes. Interestingly, LGBT Puerto Rican smokers are more interested in quitting than general population of smokers. However, it seems there are unique obstacles to quitting that participants expressed such as fear of quitting, use of tobacco for stress and lack of resources. Menthol use is a widely used among LGBT people in PR too which seems to disproportionately affect communities of color.

It was also found that participants wanted their doctors to be more culturally competent and understand needs. Many participants didn’t care whether the tobacco industry targeted their communities, but they did think there should be more smoke-free spaces and quitlines. Some of the priorities of the LGBT community were factors related to tobacco such as Asthma, insomnia and anxiety.

This survey is so vital as it shows the specific needs of the PR LGBT community which is already showing their unique but similar situations and needs.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

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