Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Meaningful Care Conference - 2009 LGBT Health Awareness Week

March 13 event will address barriers for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender health care

The philosophy behind this project is deeply rooted in respect, compassion and social justice.

Portland, OR - National LGBT Health Awareness Week is a nationwide effort to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health. Events kick off during the second week in March all around the country.

Now in its fourth year, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Meaningful Care Conference is a regional response to this national effort and is being produced by a host of providers, non-profits and local governments who provide health care. The conference is aimed at educating prospective and current health care professionals on culturally competent, best practice strategies when providing medical care and social service support to LGBT patients.

LGBT communities experience an array of health disparities. Specifically:

•LGBT youth are much more likely to be victimized in school and to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.

•LGBT people are often reluctant to seek care or to "come out" to health providers, leading to under-screening and intervention likely to result in poor health.

•Gay men and lesbian women are at increased risk for certain diseases due to inadequate risk assessment and screening by providers.

•HIV/AIDS continues to devastate LGBT populations.

In addition to disparities in health and health risk behaviors, LGBT people face documented structural, financial, and cultural barriers to accessing health care services. Also, multiple studies have documented provider bias regarding LGBT patients, and many providers are uncomfortable or feel inadequately trained in discussing patients’ sexual histories. Given these barriers, it is not surprising disparities exist for LGBT people when receiving health care.

“The philosophy behind this project is deeply rooted in respect, compassion and social justice,” says Lillian Shirley, Health Department Director for Multnomah County. “To provide the best care possible, clinicians must create a safe environment that fosters open communication about all the issues that affect the health and well being of the client being served.”

“Removing barriers and improving the health of all communities in Multnomah County is vital,” states Commissioner Shiprack. “I support the Meaningful Care Conference’s goals and am very happy this is a partnership between the county and so many in our region who provide these services.”

This year’s key note speaker will be nationally renowned health advocate Joel Ginsberg, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA). Based in San Francisco, GLMA is the nation’s largest and oldest association of LGBT health professionals and provides leadership and advocacy to ensure the competent treatment of LGBT patients. The conference is also sponsoring Leslie J. Calman, Ph.D. who will present on LBT women’s health. Dr. Calman is the Executive Director of the Mautner Project, a national health organization aimed at improving the health of LBT women through advocacy research, education and direct service.

The Meaningful Care Conference is a collaboration of the following organizations who share a vision of culturally competent health care for LGBT consumers: Kaiser Permanente, Breathe Free: Oregon LGBTQ Coalition Against Tobacco, Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC), Cascade AIDS Project, Multnomah County Health Department, Columbia River Mental Health, Multnomah County Department of County Human Services, Q Center, Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, OHSU/Partnership Project, Quest Center for Integrative Health, Our House, Outside In, Northwest Health Foundation, Elder Resource Alliance, Senior Housing and Retirement Enterprises (SHARE), Marriott Portland City Center, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack.

The conference will be held:
March 13, 2009
Ambridge Event Center
1333 NE MLK Blvd., Portland, OR 97232 (NEW ADDRESS)
6 CEU and 6 CME certifications are provided

Registration and more information is available at www.lgbtqmeaningfulcare.org.

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