The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), another agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, this week announced that it will be giving a $248,000 grant to the Fenway Institute to create a National Training and Technical Assistance Center to help community health centers improve the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
The grant is designed to bolster the Fenway Institute’s work, and is the first time the HRSA has entered into a National Cooperative Agreement that focuses on LGBT healthcare.
Since 2000, the Fenway Institute has provided medical, academic and community bodies with training, education and technical assistance relating to LGBT health. The institute’s work is based on The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health, currently the only major clinical textbook on LGBT health, and was published in collaboration with the American College of Physicians in 2008.
Fenway with this grant money will work to:
- recruit leading experts in LGBT health to consult and teach health center staff;
- develop curricula specifically targeted to LGBT populations; and
- work closely with state primary care associations to maximize the geographic reach of the project.
“This award is an important step in HHS’ continuing effort to provide health care services to all people recognizing that different groups of people may have distinctive health care needs,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“Significant health disparities exist for sexual and gender minorities,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “This award will help to expand access for the LGBT community to ensure that patients who need care can receive it in a safe, welcoming and respectful environment.”
The particular medical issues that LGBTs face are diverse. LGBT youth are often at an increased risk for depression and attempted suicide and are more prone to high risk behaviors; lesbian and bisexual women cancer survivors report lower senses of well-being and a poorer general level of health than their straight counterparts; and for the trans population in particular, having their specialized medical and health needs met is imperative given that they face such high discrimination and harassment rates.
To find out more about the Fenway Institute, please click here.
In related news, on Wednesday the Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines to support the enforcement of rules that protect hospital visiation rights and the right of patients to choose who is allowed to visit them during a hospital stay, with a particular focus on the rights of same-sex domestic partners who have in the past been unlawfully barred from visiting their unwell loved ones.