Nurses changing healthcare practice

This article popped up on my news feed today and thought I’d share it. Nurses changing healthcare experiences for lesbians and bisexual women

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LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights

Healthcare is not an easy subject for many who identify as sexual and/or gender minorities.  Many have had negative experiences with healthcare encounters, have heard horror stories from their friends, or, fearing the worst, simply avoid risking any encounter with the system.  This is not the way it should be, and there are many individuals and BORwallet-2_pdfgroups who are working to change the system for the better, and to assist LGBT people and families know how to navigate in these waters that are all too often troubled.

Healthlink, a network of LGBT community centers and other partners, has recently posted a Healthcare Bill of Rights to affirm exactly what we can expect from the system, and establishes a foundation for challenging the system when it fails.  These fundamental rights are:

  • The right to be treated with equality and respect
  • The right to affirmation of your true gender identity
  • The right to designate who will make decisions for you if you cannot do so for yourself
  • The right to visitation by anyone you choose
  • The right to your privacy
  • The right to protections if you are discharged due to discrimination

You can read the details of the Bill of Rights here.  You can download the bill in several formats, including a wallet-sized summary.  Spread the word – make sure your LGBT friends and acquaintances know this Bill – inevitably someone you know will need it, probably someday soon!

Note: the links above sometimes do not connect – so I am making the detailed Bill of rights available to download here.  But the link is a good link .. be patient and try again to visit the site!

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Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black” tells her story!

As the holiday season shifts into full gear, it is time to be mindful of the struggles that many sexual and gender diverse youth and adults experience – including depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts and even action.  The pain and struggle of everyday life is amplified in contexts where others are connecting with family and friends and joyfully indulging in celebrations that dull our sensitivity to the pain of others.

On the Netflix miniseries “Orange is the New Black” Laverne plays the part of Sophia Burset, who is a transgender woman who went to prison for credit-card fraud. Originally a firefighter named Marcus, Sophia was unhappy with living as a man and transitioned with the support of her wife Crystal. Sophia committed fraud to finance her operation and hormone therapy. She has a young son named Michael, who had difficulty with her transition.

Watch this wonderful video that Laverne Cox posted for the “It Gets Better” Project, telling her own story of how it got better for her.

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2015 LGBT Health Workforce Conference Building a Caring Community in the Electronic Age

Registration and abstract submission is now open for the 2015 LGBT Health Workforce Conference!  The conference will be held in New York City, May 1-3, 2015, at Hunter College City University of New York, Main Campus, West Building, Southwest conferenceCorner of 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10065

This conference provides an overview of up-to-date practices (climate and educational) in preparing the health care workforce to address the health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.  This conference is designed for health professionals (M.D., D.O., P.A.-C., nurses, dentists, podiatrists, social workers, psychologists, etc.), educators, and students (pre-health professions, professional schools, and graduate), but all interested are invited to attend. CME credit will be available.

A summary of the first conference, held in 2013, is published in LGBT Health titled First Annual LGBT Health Workforce Conference: Empowering Our Health Workforce to Better Serve LGBT Communities.  This is an exciting opportunity for followers!  Let us know if you are able to attend!

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Report on LGBT health Priorities for 2015

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released a report titled “Advancing LGBT Health & Well-being.”  This is the 4th annual report that is the outcome of the President’s directive to identify steps that the DHHS can take to improve the health of LGBT Americans.  Before the Affordable Care Act, one in three lower income LGBT Americans did not have medical insurance.  Recognizing that insurance alone will not improve the health of our communities, the reports provide specific recommendations for steps that still need to be taken to address this need.

The new recommendations for 2015 are:

1. Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender IdentityLGBT_Health_and_Well-being___HHS_gov

2. Funding Research on LGBT Health Inequities

3. Improving Health Data on LGBT Populations

4. Research on the Blood Donation Deferral Policy for Men Who Have Sex with Other Men

5. Improving Cultural Competency with Respect to the Two Spirit Community

6. Further Addressing the Human Services Needs of LGBT Populations

7. Re-Launching the HHS LGBT Issues Webpage

For more about what the Affordable Care Act means for LGBT Americans and their families, visit the HHS web pages dedicated focusing on LGBT health!  And  remember to spread the word — enrollment is open until Feburary 2015!  Be sure everyone you know has the information they need to get coverage!

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Promoting a research study

Can you help my colleague spread the word about her important research?  See below.

Participate in a Study on Fertility Treatment Experiences

(With a Chance to Win $100)

Are you currently trying to get pregnant using donor sperm? If so, you are invited to participate in a study being conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University and the University of California, San Francisco. The study aims to investigate various aspects of fertility treatment experiences for heterosexual and lesbian women.

To participate, you MUST be:  

•      Currently pursuing pregnancy using donor sperm

•      18 years of age or older

•      Fluent in English

Participating involves completing an online survey. If you are currently in a romantic relationship, your partner will be invited to participate as well. The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. After you complete the survey, you will be entered into a raffle for $100. Drawings will be held at the end of each month. The odds of winning the prize will depend on the number of entries received each month.

Participation is voluntary and all information will be kept anonymous and confidential. You are free to decline to participate at any time even after the survey has begun.

If you are willing to participate, please click the link below to register. You will then be sent a Study ID number and a link to the survey. Please feel free to contact the lead researcher, Sarah Holley, Ph.D., with any questions via e-mail ( or via phone (415-747-9990). This study is IRB approved by San Francisco State University and the University of California, San Francisco.

Thank you for your time and interest!

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Kelli Dunham calls for LGBT Culturally Competent Care on NPR Blog!

“Health News from NPR” just posted an excellent article by nurse Kelli Dunham focused on health disparities in the LGBT community that are aided and abetted by inadequate Kelli-Dunham-at-FF-October-2013-300x300care for LGBT people and their families.  She points to the recent American Association of Medical College’s report titled “Implementing Curricular and Institutional Climate Changes to Improve Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSD: A Resource for Medical Educators” as a major step in guiding health care professions to prepare providers who are culturally competent to provide quality care for LGBT folks.

As Kelli points out, the challenges to providing universally competent care for all people are huge, but just a few very simple changes can be implemented now, including fundamental acceptance of each person as a person  and acceptance of each patient’s significant other, regardless of who that person is.  Kelli brings her wonderful comedic talent to addressing this very important, and sensitive issue in health care -

There is no such thing as a lesbian knee, or a lesbian armpit or a lesbian neck — at least I’ve never dated one — but each human being comes to health care with a context and a story, and they both are vitally important.

Congratulations, Kelli on your excellent report, and thank you for getting this message out on a major news outlet!!

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Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20

In the hopes that this memorial will one day become unnecessary, we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) with attention to health issues.

The 2011 Institute of Medicine report The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding provided alarming but not entirely surprising information about health disparities among sexual minority people, including transgender people.

Among its more salient findings:

  • Some research suggests that young transgender women are at significant risk for homelessness.
  • Research based on smaller convenience samples suggests that elevated rates of suicidal ideation and attempts as well as depression exist among transgender adults; however, little research has examined the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in this population.
  • Limited research among transgender adults indicates that substance use is a concern for this population.
  • Limited research suggests that transgender elders may experience negative health outcomes as a result of long-term hormone use.

These data are significant and persuasive. The human dimensions, however, may be more powerfully represented in the documentary Transgender Tuesdays: A Clinic in the Tenderloin.

Transgender lives are more than statistics.

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Medical-Colleges Group Releases Standards for Treating LGBT Patients

Announced today by the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The Association of American Medical Colleges has released a set of guidelines aimed at helping medical schools better train physicians to treat people who are LGBT, don’t identify with a gender, or are born with differences of sex development. The guidelines, contained in a report, are the first comprehensive set of standards for treating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients, according to a news release from the organization.

The AAMC report can be downloaded here:

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November 20th – International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Ceremonies are being held worldwide during the month of November to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.  The Transgender Day of Remembrance web site provides a list of events that will be occuring throughout the month, many on November 20th.  They also publish a list of all who have been killed throughout the previous year; this list consists of deaths that were corroborated by media accounts.

This is a senseless and horrifying tragedy.  Please join us in pausing for a moment of reflection to remember those who have perished, and to focus our energies on all the ways we can work together to end the violence.  Statistics_and_other_info____Transgender_Day_of_Remembrance

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