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Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities Lesbian Health. 19 th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control March 1, 2005. Overview. Last ten years show some progress in lesbian health research

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Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and OpportunitiesLesbian Health

19th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

March 1, 2005

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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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 leadingthe way

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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Factors affecting lesbian health population

  • Childbearing

  • Routine screening

  • Insurance

  • Unhealthy behaviors

  • Access to care

1985-1995 pooled survey data for lesbians1994 NHI Survey and 1984-1994 Nat’l Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III,

Cochran and Mays, Am J Pub Health, 2001

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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Lesbians report negative experience of healthcare population

“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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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Homophobia is a health hazard population

  • Being gay or lesbian is not inherently hazardous to health

  • Homophobia – external and internalized – must be recognized as a legitimate health hazard

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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Opportunities and Next Steps population

  • 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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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Questions or Comments? population

Linda Ellis, MEd, MDiv

Executive Director

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

www.alci.org

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative


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