National Coalition for LGBT Health

PRESS RELEASE

NEW NATIONAL COALITION FOR LGBT HEALTH FORMS

A new National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health was formed on October 14 when representatives from some 45 national, state and local organizations met in Washington, D. C. to identify new ways to collaborate on LGBT health. The first official action of this coalition was to ask Donna Shalala, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to create an Office of LGBT Health and Research within HHS.

"The creation of this Coalition is historic. We now have the opportunity to move forward together on a comprehensive national health agenda for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and communities," said Cornelius Baker, Executive Director of the Whitman Walker Clinic and a member of the Coalition's Organizing Committee.

The meeting was part of a larger conference on LGBT health, organized by the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the Fenway Community Health Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the Columbia University Center for LGBT Health and its Lesbian Health Research Institute, and LLEGO - the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Organization.

With a vision of carefully examining and over time correcting health disparities across racial, ethnic, geographic, gender and sexual orientation lines, the Coalition committed itself to represent and reflect the rich diversity of the LGBT community.

Initial goals of the Coalition include such measures as improving the data collection and analysis by the federal government on LGBT health and identifying qualified LGBT individuals for appointment to HHS advisory committees and to political positions within HHS.

An Organizing Committee was selected to draft and refine the mission, goals, and objectives of the Coalition. In addition to the above organizations, the Organizing Committee includes the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, The COLOURS Organization, Inc., and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

"The members of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association strongly support the development of the National Coalition for LGBT Health and look forward to partnering with other LGBT health advocates on our common agenda," said Saul Levin, M.D., President of the Gay and Lesbian Medial Association

The meeting and new Coalition were largely catalyzed by the federal government's Healthy People 2010 process, a long-range plan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Inclusion of LGBT health issues in Healthy People 2010 is critical, as it will drive much federal research and funding for the next 10 years.

Thus, LGBT health advocates came together informally to improve the coverage of LGBT health issues in the Healthy People 2010 document. Through this process, the LGBT health community came to realize a more formal method of collaboration was needed, and this new Coalition was formed.

For more information please contact:

Cheryl B. Fields, MPH NCLGBTH Organizing Committee The Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer 1707 L Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-332-5536 Fax: 202-332-0662

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