WASHINGTON – With the goal of securing quality healthcare free of prejudice and discrimination for all Americans, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the HRC, today announced the formation of an innovative, wide-ranging Health and Aging Program.
The new program will address both the health concerns of all LGBT Americans and the particular challenges faced by LGBT elders, including discrimination, mistreatment and isolation. According to a study by MetLife, nearly one-third of gays and lesbians say discrimination based on sexual orientation is their greatest concern about aging.
“LGBT elders deserve unbiased, equitable, and welcoming healthcare and services,” said Chad Griffin, HRC president. “HRC’s Health and Aging program will help ensure they receive that care while expanding our already highly effective work in the health arena.”
To head the Health and Aging program, HRC hired Shane Snowdon, a seasoned advocate and nationally recognized expert on LGBT health and wellness. Snowdon comes to HRC from the University of California San Francisco, where she founded the acclaimed Center for LGBT Health & Equity in 1999.
Snowdon, who has served on the HRC Foundation Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) national advisory council, has provided training on LGBT healthcare to thousands of healthcare providers, developed criteria for culturally competent and welcoming LGBT care, and advocated for LGBT equality in a wide variety of settings.
“As a member of the first ‘out’ generation, I’m very excited about the work ahead,” Snowdon said. “LGBT people face real challenges around health and aging, and I look forward to making a real difference in their lives through my work in this new program.”
The Health and Aging program will include HRC’s signature health initiative, the Healthcare Equality Index, which showcases U.S. healthcare facilities that have demonstrated a commitment to LGBT equity and inclusion. The HEI, which has focused primarily on hospitals, will be expanded to survey and report on nursing and long-term care facilities serving elders.
The Health and Aging Program will also address other critical needs, including much-expanded LGBT training for healthcare and social services providers. The program will additionally provide a wealth of resources for LGBT people of all ages, designed to maximize their wellbeing and minimize the inequities they encounter.