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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 opportunities lesbian health

Health Disparities: Progress, Challenges and OpportunitiesLesbian Health

19th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

March 1, 2005

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

overview
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

progress has been made in recognizing lesbians as a target population
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

slide4
Factors affecting lesbian health
  • 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

lesbians report negative experience of healthcare
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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

homophobia is a health hazard
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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

opportunities and next steps
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

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

questions or comments
Questions or Comments?

Linda Ellis, MEd, MDiv

Executive Director

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

www.alci.org

Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative

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