WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC, is commemorating National LGBT Health Awareness Week this week (March 26-30) with a series of events from coast to coast designed to promote LGBT health and bring awareness to the unique healthcare needs of the LGBT community.
As documented by a recent Institute of Medicine report, health disparities continue to plague the LGBT community and the fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking care. Studies have shown that LGBT people are often not treated with the respect that all patients deserve.
“During National LGBT Health Awareness Week we will confront the ongoing healthcare challenges facing our community,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said. “This week is an opportunity to shine a light on our community’s healthcare needs and promote LGBT health on Capitol Hill and across the country.”
As part of the week’s activities, HRC Legal Director Brian Moulton will take part in two Congressional briefings on Wednesday March 28 to explore the unique social, economic, and legal impediments to LGBT family health and well-being in the U.S. Beyond Washington, HRC LGBT health expert Shane Snowdon will provide much-needed education by giving grand rounds at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., for physicians, nurses, and managers on Thursday, March 29, and by keynoting the Oregon statewide LGBTQ Meaningful Care Conference, hosted by a wide range of state and local health agencies on Friday, March 30.
While LGBT Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight and promote LGBT health, the HRC Foundation Family Project works on important LGBT health issues year round. HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), published annually, rates healthcare facilities on their policies and practices related to LGBT patients and employees. The HEI serves as a healthcare administrator’s benchmarking tool for identifying best practices in LGBT patient-centered care and empowers patients to encourage healthcare professionals to embrace LGBT healthcare equality. Learn more at www.hrc.org/hei. While the HEI is a vital tool for healthcare facilities and patients, all LGBT individuals can protect themselves from healthcare discrimination by creating legal documents, including a living will and healthcare power of attorney. Learn more at: www.hrc.org/protect-your-rights.
LGBT Health Awareness Week is organized by the National Coalition for LGBT Health with support from its planning committee partners, which in addition to HRC include: the Community of LGBT Centers (CenterLink), the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), the International Federation of Black Prides, Lambda Legal, the LBGT Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), Legacy Community Health Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Network for LGBT Health Equity, and OutHealth: A Program of Health Imperatives. Learn more about Health Awareness Week at www.lgbthealth.net. Read HRC’s Health Awareness Week blog posts at www.hrcbackstory.org.