Monthly Archives: December 2010

Rainbow Health Initiative LGBTQ Health Assessment – We Need Your Help

Loretta Worthington, Executive Director Rainbow Health Initiative

Hello all,

I am requesting any of you that are willing to please forward this health assessment link to any and all LGBT listserves around the country. We are really hoping to get a good sampling of data from states other than MN.

I would greatly appreciate this last push, We are closing the survey on 12/31/2010.

Rainbow Health Initiative is gathering health data from LGBTQ people around the country to inform services and address service and program needs.




Loretta Worthington, MOL, MSP
Executive Director
Rainbow Health Initiative
Twin Cities Quorum Nonprofit of the Year 2009
3249 Hennepin Ave South
Suite 45

Minneapolis, MN 55408
877-499-7744 Office
877-495-7744 Fax
612-708-6208 Cell



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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Uncategorized



Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager

By: Gustavo Torrez


As you may have seen we have been reporting for some time now the feds have a set of guidelines for healthcare organizations called the CLAS standards (Cultural & Linguistically Appropriate Services). Some of them are required of all federal funds recipients, others are strongly suggested. Currently, they are taking feedback on how to make these standards better, both online and through a series of live meetings. Although the last live meeting took place on November 15th, it’s not too late to make your voice heard. They are still taking comments till December 31, 2010. While you may think your voice is small, it’s not. The more public comment the better, we have to make sure our voices are heard!

Click here to register and make your comments now, it only take a few minutes! And, if you are not sure what to say, here are some suggestions for you to add:

*Make all standards mandatory for federally funded healthcare agencies, not just the ones related to language.

*Standard 1 – add language in brackets Health care organizations should ensure that patients/consumers receive from all staff member’s effective, understandable, and respectful care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices, [preferred gender identity,] and preferred language.

*Standard 10 – add language in brackets Health care organizations should ensure that data on the individual patient’s/consumer’s race, ethnicity, [sexual orientation, gender identity,] and spoken and written language are collected in health records, integrated into the organization’s management information systems, and periodically updated.

For those of you who have already filled out the survey, we thank you for all of your continued support for equality for our communities. We all look forward to an enhances set of CLAS Standard in 2011!

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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Action Alerts




December 9, 2010

CONTACT: Dr. Scout





Today marked the launch of the Surgeon General’s 30th report on tobacco, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease. The report will be better known for its main message being echoed around media outlets that the evidence shows there is absolutely no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. In the words of the Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, “One cigarette can kill you.” Unfortunately, within hours of this press announcement the American Family Association used this media opportunity to campaign against gay people. Their press release about this health event was titled “One cigarette can kill you; so can one act of gay sex.”

Dr. Scout is the Director of The Fenway Institute’s Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Equity. One of their main activities is urging LGBT inclusion in tobacco control activities nationwide. “Considering the LGBT communities’ smoking rates are from 35-almost 200% higher than the mainstream population and the recent rash of LGBT youth suicides,” says Dr. Scout, “we feel this linking of one of our communities’ biggest health disparities and anti-gay propaganda to be no less than dangerous.”

Earlier this week the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced that they were formally adding 13 anti-gay groups to their national list of hate groups; American Family Association is one of the groups to be added. SPLC monitors hate groups all of kinds [932 to date] and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. According to Evelyn Schlatter, Author of SPLC’s Winter 2010 Intelligence Report, “Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities….the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations.”


As a result of bullying and harassment, LGBT youth are four times more likely to think about or attempt suicide according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Scout comments, “I’m very pleased to see SPLC has spoken out that these organizations are no more than hate groups. The hurdles we fight to get our LGBT youth through school intact are big enough. We know the stress of discrimination is why they start smoking more than other kids. People who deliberately fan the flames of stigma against these vulnerable youth should consider the story the LGBT youth suicide statistics tell.”

The Network for LGBT Health Equity at The Fenway Institute was formerly the Network for LGBT Tobacco Control. The Network is a grassroots collection of hundreds of LGBT health advocates and professionals nationwide. They have been working with local, state, and national tobacco control entities for years to help integrate the best possible LGBT tobacco control activities at all levels. Two of the Networks most popular resources are cultural competency trainings for states looking to expand their LGBT health equity work and strategies for how to integrate LGBT measures into health surveys. More information about the Network can be found at More information about LGBT youth safety can be found at


Crossposted on:

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Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized


New Surgeon General's Report Released Today

Posted by Gustavo

Today the 30th tobacco related Surgeon General’s report since 1964 was released. This very scientific based report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, focused on how smoking causes damage to almost every organ on the body. As we know there has been a lot of studies on the effects of smoking, but this over 700 page report details in depth the true effects of cigarette smoking and the ways tobacco smoke damages the human body. More importantly as a result we have a New Comprehensive Strategic Plan to address this issue.

To ensure comprehension of the findings an Executive Summary was created to outline the original 700+ page report in a more user friendly format which consists of a 9 page report.  A Consumer report was also created as a result of the new Report.

In addition to the release of the reports, a factsheet was created which outlines 6 scientific evidence based conclusions to help support us in our work:

  • There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful.
  • Damage from tobacco smoke is immediate.
  • Smoking longer means more damage.
  • Cigarettes are designed for addiction.
  • There is no safe cigarette.
  • The only proven strategy for reducing the risk of tobacco-related disease and death is to never smoke, and if you do smoke to quit.

While these conclusions may look very basic, and may have been identified in the past, there is even more scientific evidence to support the conclusions than ever before.

With the new regulation of tobacco, this report adds more support for stricter regulations of tobacco products. The report was designed to be very scientific based bringing together over 70 researchers to ensure comprehensive findings that can be used in the regulation of tobacco by the FDA.

Regulation of nicotine levels in a cigarette, for example, is one of the areas the FDA is looking at. This report outlines that the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before, and that cigarettes today deliver nicotine more quickly from the lungs to the heart and brain. With the scientific documentation to support the findings this could mean huge gains with the new FDA regulation of tobacco. Additionally, we know there is no safe cigarette. With new evidence from this report we know that changing cigarette designs over the last five decades, including filtered, low-tar, and “light” variations, have NOT reduced overall disease risk among smokers and may have hindered prevention and cessation efforts. So although we have speculated and have known some of these findings we yet again have more research to support the regulation of tobacco. Also, the report identified that the overall health of the public could be harmed if the introduction of novel tobacco products encourages tobacco use among people who would otherwise be unlikely to use a tobacco product or delays cessation among persons who would otherwise quit using tobacco altogether. So although there was not a lot that went into other smokeless tobacco products through this report they initially scratched the surface and maybe a next step would be looking into more tobacco products other than just cigarettes in the near future.

The most important section for me is the last point identified in the factsheet. The only proven strategy for reducing the risk of tobacco-related disease and death is to never smoke, and if you do smoke to quit. Although it sounds easer that it actually is we know that there are major strides to offer comprehensive cessation services to everyone. We know that it is never too late to quit, and that it takes an individual several attempts to quit before they are actually successful. Dr. Regina Benjamin noted today that patents who physicians talked to them about quitting have a 66% higher success rate of quitting. As a result a new Factsheet for physician was created. More importantly, in the quest to make sure everyone has equal access to cessation resources the federal government has amended their healthcare plans to offer comprehensive cessation services, and as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius mentioned “we need to lead by example”. We know It’s important for all companies to have comprehensive cessation offered in their health care plans. In addition, we know that Medicare offers cessation services, and there will be an announcement soon regarding Medicaid offering cessation coverage, which will come from the new Affordable Care Act.

Finally, the factsheet released today informs individuals to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get started on a quit plan today. We have created an LGBT friendly poster version to promote the national quitline. In addition, we have a list of excellent cessation resources for LGBT communities from the field. If you know of any resources we don’t have on the site please send them to us so we can share them on our site.

Visit for the full 722 page report and all of the attachments, including a new PSA featuring the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin. You can also request printed copies of all of the supporting documents as well.

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Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized