Ft. Lauderdale, FL - May 6, 2014 -CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers today announced that four LGBT community centers located in Michigan will receive grants for the purpose of collecting health related data, such as tobacco use rates, from their community members at various programs throughout the summer months, including PRIDE events. The awards came as a result of technical assistance provided by CenterLink's Network for LGBT Health Equity to The Michigan State Department of Community Health Tobacco Section, which is funding the grants.
The four agencies are Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center in Ferndale, MI; The Network in Grand Rapids, MI; Perceptions Saginaw Valley in Midland, MI; and KICK-The Agency for Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender African Americans in Detroit.
Very little health data exists on the LGBT population. The intent of this project is to collect and analyze health related data from Michigan's LGBT community through a Wellness Needs Assessment which has been developed, and will be analyzed, by CenterLink's Network for LGBT Health Equity. In addition to the collection of data, the four agencies have committed to disseminate culturally competent "quit tobacco" messages and facts to their constituents, healthcare professionals and legislators in order to demonstrate the need for increased funding of, and access to, health related services for the LGBT population.
According to Dr. Scout, Director of CenterLink's Network for LGBT Health Equity, "Smoking is one of the biggest health burdens in the community, as LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates that are nearly 70% higher than the general population. Other health disparities include increased suicide attempts, access to fewer preventive services for cancer, higher risk of HIV and AIDS, mental health issues and lack of culturally competent healthcare professionals. Michigan is one of first 'demonstration states' - the first states to utilize our Wellness Assessment to gather these data proving the need for better and more comprehensive healthcare services for the LGBT population. CenterLink's Network is on the cusp of rolling out an automated needs assessment process that other LGBT community centers throughout the country can deploy. We will create local needs assessment reports to profile the health needs of community center constituents. We are enthusiastic these reports can help grow local resources and add to the national dialog on LGBT health disparities."
The Network will continue to provide technical assistance through the project and is working with The Fenway Institute to analyze and report the findings.
For more information about the project, contact Dr. Scout at (954) 765-6024.