by Scout Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA
$102 Million New Dollars for Prevention Falls Short For Us
As folk might remember, we worked pretty hard analyzing the grant announcement that was going to shape these long-awaited Community Transformation Grants. We worked with the allied national networks consortium to deliver our Joint Policy Statement on How to Include Disparate Populations in Health Funding Awards. This statement actually included line by line recommendations on how to enhance the forthcoming CTG grant announcement.
So now we see the long awaited grant announcement. Does it do a good job of urging disparity population integration at many levels of the local community transformation work? Yes, big win. Does it do a good job of urging LGBT inclusion as one of those disparity populations? Not so much.
Now remember, HHS has committed to outreach to LGBT people with this funding, to quote the HHS Factsheet on LGBTs and Healthcare Reform:
“In addition, the Affordable Care Act is funding preventive efforts for communities, including millions of dollars to use evidence-based interventions to address tobacco control, obesity prevention, HIV-related health disparities, and better nutrition and physical activity. The Department of Health and Human Services intends to work with community centers serving the LGBT community to ensure the deployment of proven prevention strategies.”
Now according to this grant announcement we see the following lead statement: “All Americans should have equal opportunities to make healthy choices that allow them to live long, healthy lives, regardless of their income, education or race/ethnic background.” Well I agree, but the omission here of LGBT really starts to set a precedent we see throughout.
- T left off altogether. (yet again!)
- When LGB is mentioned, it’s at the end of a long list of possible groups you could choose to report disparity data on. That’s a far cry from urging inclusion. Since most applicants have no local LGBT data this framing gives them a big loophole to walk away from addressing our disparities with the new dollars.
- Finally, “communities” are still narrowly defined by geography, not demographics. So, the chance of there being any LGBT focused community transformation award is really really tiny. <– note: but this still allows LGBT inclusion on other proposals, and there might even be another mechanism coming soon that allows an LGBT-specific award.
We’re reaching out to folk now. In my opinion, this really is simply a mistake, the feds are really trying to include us effectively. But they didn’t yet. Well, they’re having the first tech assist call on this now, let’s see if they get back to us and change this. I hope so.
Is REACH Reaching Further Now?
Anyone catch that interesting comment on the tech assist call? An early presenter who mentioned another big CDC grant portfolio, the REACH awards, said those awards were for all disparities, not just racial and ethnic ones. Hmmm… CDC’s web says “REACH Across the U.S. (REACH U.S.) is a national multilevel program that serves as the cornerstone of CDC’s effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.” Maybe they’re going to expand that? If so, hope it also expands the funding amount a bit, don’t want to take money away from the excellent work of overlapping disparity populations.