Briding the gap in LGBT health care
Bringing together seven LGBT groups from Harvard and the Harvard teaching hospitals was no April's Fool joke!
Almost 100 guests attended Bridging the Gap: A Discussion on the Future of LGBT Healthcare, held recently at Fenway Health's new auditorium.
Set up as a living room conversation, Lee Swislow, Executive Director of GLAD, facilitated dialogue among the other speakers: Judy Bradford, Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT health at The Fenway Institute, KJ Ward, Director of Boston GLASS at JRI Health and Scott Leibowitz, psychiatrist at Children's Hospital Boston.
The roundtable discussion, part of National LGBT Health Awareness Week, focused on the current healthcare status of the LGBT community including a summary of Bradford's research that found more than half of LGBT seniors live alone compared to one-third of heterosexual elders. That fact is associated with health risks including, according to Bradford, "increased likelihood of falling, higher rates of smoking, a lower quality of life, and a greater number of hospital readmissions."
Ward elaborated on the issues facing LGBT youth and how, as she explained, "marginalization can lead to risky behaviors." Addressing the role that providers can play, Leibowitz commented that, "prevention starts with demarginalization and with us as health care providers establishing a standard of care that fosters kids' trust in their doctors."
Buoyed by the success of the event, leaders from the seven groups plan to continue this partnership and invite others to join the collaboration. The seven participating groups were from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
For more information on BIDMC's LGBT Advisory Committee, please contact Jim Arrington at email@example.com or 617-754-8087.
Photo caption: Bridging the Gap speakers KJ Ward, Director of Boston GLASS at JRI Health, Judy Bradford, Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT health at The Fenway Institute, Scott Leibowitz, Psychiatrist, Children's Hospital Boston, Lee Swislow, Executive Director of GLAD.