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3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 1 Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities Lesbian Health 19 th National Conference on Chronic.

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Presentation on theme: "3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 1 Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities Lesbian Health 19 th National Conference on Chronic."— Presentation transcript:

1 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 1 Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities Lesbian Health 19 th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control March 1, 2005

2 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 2 Overview  Last ten years show some progress in lesbian health research  Evidence shows lesbians may be at higher risk than heterosexual women for many chronic diseases  Homophobia is a health risk  Grassroots efforts are leading the way

3 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 3 Progress has been made in recognizing lesbians as a target population  1985 – National Lesbian Health Care Survey  1994 – National Institute of Health (NIH) includes lesbians and bi- women in Women’s Health Initiative Study  1997 – Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Lesbian Health Research Priorities convened  1997 – CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (BCCP) includes lesbians as priority population  2000 – Gay and Lesbian Medical Assn., with HHS funding, publishes Healthy People 2010 Companion Document for LGBT Health  2000 – U.S. Census first begins to track same-sex couples

4 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 4  Childbearing  Routine screening  Insurance  Unhealthy behaviors  Access to care Factors affecting lesbian health pooled survey data for lesbians 1994 NHI Survey and Nat’l Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, Cochran and Mays, Am J Pub Health, 2001 Cochran and Mays, Am J Pub Health, 2001

5 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 5 Lesbians report negative experience of healthcare “A soon as I said I was a lesbian, the nurses started giving me disgusted looks.” “ You’d get poorer care if they knew you were a lesbian.” “ It’s like putting your life in the hands of someone who really hates you.” Stevens, P.E. and S. Morgan (2001). J Pediatric Health Care 15(1): 24-34

6 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 6 Homophobia is a health hazard  Being gay or lesbian is not inherently hazardous to health  Homophobia – external and internalized – must be recognized as a legitimate health hazard

7 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 7 Opportunities and Next Steps  Education efforts are increasing  Community-based efforts continue to grow  There is increased support from some on the national level  We need to know more

8 3/1/05 Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative 8 Questions or Comments? Linda Ellis, MEd, MDiv Executive Director Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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