Blog Archives

LGBT VOTE FOR EQUALITY MATTERS

 

Dear Friends,

With Election Day around the corner, the LGBT Progress team has been working hard to produce research and policy analysis that matters as we look to 2013. This update highlights some of the work we think is most relevant.

Of course, the number one issue this year is the economy, and economic security is especially important for LGBT people. We have included an infographic (to see infographic visit LGBT Progress on Facebook) highlighting some of the harmful impacts of discrimination on LGBT employees and their families, but we’ve also shown how these antiquated policies compromise the efficiency and effectiveness of public and private workplaces. In the midst of a recovering economy, ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people is crucial for the economic security of all Americans.

This election cycle is a decisive year for marriage equality. With marriage on the ballot in four states this November, it is more important than ever for the public to understand that marriage equality laws are perfectly compatible with existing laws that guarantee religious freedom. Our research has shown that a majority of Americans believe gay couples should have the freedom to marry, and we hope to keep the momentum growing in favor of equality.

This November will also determine the future of the U.S. health care system. With LGBT people facing numerous barriers to health, from difficulty obtaining health insurance through their spouses to finding physicians who understand their unique health needs, we’re working to make sure that Obamacare is implemented in the states in a fully LGBT-inclusive way no matter who wins the election.

We believe in a country where employees are only judged by their job performance, where religious freedom is preserved and the freedom to marry is expanded, and where every American is given an equal opportunity to take care of themselves and their families, free of discrimination. Thank you for your commitment to building a just America through your interest in and support of the work we do.

Please consider making a donation today.

Best regards,
Jeff
@jeffkrehely

10 Tips For Finding The Right Doctor

By Lissa Rankin

If you weren’t getting what you needed from your massage therapist, hairdresser, or yoga instructor, you would find someone else, right?  Why should your doctor be any different?  And yet, your doctor is even more important.  This is serious stuff we’re talking about here.

Plus, medicine is, after all, a spiritual practice.  At least it should be, and if your doctor doesn’t believe that, do you really want to put your body and your life in his or her hands?  If you didn’t like your priest, minister, guru, or shaman, you would go elsewhere, right?  It’s your body.  Your health. Your life. Your choice.

Ms. Rankin suggests you: Seek someone who shares your beliefs … Be willing to get what you pay for… Demand what you deserve … Listen to your intuition … Feel the love … Know that you deserve the best care possible.

TO READ LIST OF TIPS, JUST CLICK THIS LINK –> 10 Tips To Help You Find The Right Doctor | Care2 Healthy Living.

CDC Releases HIV Infection Study

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The authors say the low percentage is because 1 in 5 people with HIV do not realize they are infected and, of those who are
aware, only 51 percent receive ongoing medical care and treatment.

Of the nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, only an estimated 28 percent have a suppressed viral load (defined as viral load less than 200 copies of the blood-borne virus per milliliter
of blood)–meaning that the virus is under control and at a level that helps keep them healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

However, of those living with HIV who are in ongoing care and on antiretroviral treatment, 77 percent have suppressed levels of the virus.  Effective HIV treatment and care benefit infected individuals by improving their health, and are also important for HIV prevention.  Results from a recent study of heterosexual couples from the National Institutes of Health showed that consistently taking antiretroviral therapy, in combination with safer behaviors, can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by approximately 96 percent.

Men who have sex with men (MSM), the population most severely affected by HIV in the United States, are least likely to know they are infected and less likely to receive prevention counseling (39 percent, compared with 50 percent of men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men).

Study authors underscore that improvements are needed at each stage in the overall process of treatment and care. That means increasing the number of infected Americans who are tested, linked to care, remain in care, receive prevention counseling and are successfully treated – all to achieve viral suppression.

For more information on new statistics on viral suppression click here–>  Vital Signs Study.

HOW MEDICARE FAILS THE ELDERLY (nytimes.com)

By Jane Gross

(Published Oct. 15, 2011)

HERE is the dirty little secret of health care in America for the elderly, the one group we all assume has universal coverage thanks to the 1965 Medicare law: what Medicare paid for then is no longer what recipients need or want today.

No one then envisioned the stunning advances in medicine that now keep people alive into advanced old age, often with unintended and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, scientific reports have showed the dangers, not merely the pointlessness and expense, of much of the care Medicare is providing.

Of course, some may actually want everything medical science has to offer. But overwhelmingly, I’ve concluded in a decade of studying America’s elderly, it is fee-for-service doctors and Big Pharma who stand to gain the most, and adult children, with too much emotion and too little information, driving those decisions.

In the last year alone, and this list is far from complete, here is what researchers have found both useless and harmful, according to leading medical journals:

• Feeding tubes, which can cause infections, nausea and vomiting, rarely prolong life. People with dementia often react with agitation, including pulling out the tubes, and then are either sedated or restrained.

• Abdominal and gall bladder surgery and joint replacements, for those who rank poorly on a scale that measures frailty, lead to complications, repeat hospital stays and placement in nursing homes.

• Tight glycemic control for Type 2 diabetes, present in 1 of 4 people over 65, often requires 8 to 10 years before it helps prevent blindness, kidney disease or amputations. Without enough time to reap the benefits, the elderly endure needless dietary limits and needle sticks.

TO READ FULL ESSAY CLICK HERE –> How Medicare Fails the Elderly – NYTimes.com.

BLACK WOMEN SUFFER DISABILITIES EARLIER in LIFE

Black women are likely to develop physical limitations earlier in life than others their age, according to a new study.  Researchers from Case Western University in Cleveland analyzed self-reported information on the mobility, strength and physical limitations of more than 8,700 older people included in the 1994-2006 U.S. Health and Retirement Study.  The participants ranged from 53 to 75 years old.  The study found a higher rate of physical problems among black women in their 50s and 60s in the study of black, Mexican-American and white men and women.  “We could not find the reason why African-American women developed limitations faster than other gender and racial/ethnic groups,” said David Warner, assistant professor of sociology, in a university news release.  After their mid-60s, however, the rate at which disabilities occurred among black women began to decrease, and by age 75 the rate leveled off, the study found.  For the study, recently published in Social Science & Medicine, the researchers also examined the participants’ early life experiences, socioeconomic status, marital status and health-related behaviors to determine how these factors might affect people’s disabilities.  Men of all racial and ethnic groups fared better than women the study found.  Better-educated, wealthier men, in particular, reported fewer physical health issues.  Women are at greater risk for disadvantages, such as lower incomes and lack of health care in midlife, which may have lifelong effects, the researchers said.  At age 75, Mexican-American women fared worst — with nearly five disabling limitations, twice as many on average as white men — the study found.  The study authors said future research should address the unique health experiences of older black women.  Preventive efforts are also needed to eliminate racial- and gender-related functional health disparities, they said.  The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the investigation.

SOURCE: Case Western Reserve University, news release, HealthDay

via Black Women Tend To Suffer Disabilities Earlier In Life :  The Black Health Zone :.

WHY THE NATIONAL CONVENING ON POC LGBT AGING IS NEEDED

Just a few days ago I received an email that a 57-year-old black lesbian member who was living in the New York City shelter system had been gunned down outside of the shelter.  Amber Hollibaugh, Executive Director, Queers for Economic Justice said, “Yvonne’s killing on Sunday underscores the reality that the police cannot be relied on to respond compassionately to low-income LGBTQ people when it concerns issues of safety in our communities.  At QEJ, we are asking again, how many potentially dangerous situations every year have to end up in a police shooting?  It cannot be accepted that calling the police can be deadly for low-income LGBTQ New Yorkers”.

Most of us have vibrant memories of the battles that have gone before: civil rights, marriage equality in California and New York, and the continuing immigrants rights struggle.  We also do not forget the examples of fierce warriors like Audre Lorde, who said, “If I did not define myself for myself, I would be crushed into other people’s fantasies for me and be eaten alive.”

In addition to ongoing marginalization the current economic climate threatens housing, food security and health care among the aging. These forces are all the more challenging in light of  continued marginalization and lack of integration of people of color and more so, LGBT elders of color into this dialogue.

As “baby boomers” age there is need to look at the rights and well-being of the aging.

There are those who stood up and fought on all these fronts that are continually being left out of the conversation.

Kyaien O. Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry and Daphne Collier.

Freddie Don Little, MPH, Sharon M. Day, E.D., Indigenous Peoples Task Force and Dion Wong, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance.

People like Regina V. Shavers, Robert Spellman, Ira Jeffries, the founders of GRIOT, saw the need for us to have the space to speak for ourselves.

Rev. Janyce L. Jackson, Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle and Don Kao, Dir. Project Reach.

They would be pleased at the amassed potential of this community of organizational leaders and elders coming together to cooperatively continue the battle we have been waging individually and in small segmented groups, in Aging. It’s time for us to  reassess how we can work differently to get our voices and our lives into this conversation. This convening offers us an opportunity to gather as a community of POC/ LGBT elders and organizational leaders who must frame the policy on Aging.  Our work experience in addressing the disparities in health care, housing, immigration, social security are needed in a truly collective effort that enhances the quality of our elder’s lives. This network must build a united voice of POC organizational leaders and elders, and must reframe language so it inclusively meets the needs of the POC /LGBT communities.  It would not be clichéd to say at this time, “Si, se puede!”

Article by Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, also published in HUFFINGTON POST.

AARP ADDRESSES POC LGBT CONVENING

Successful aging requires access to approximate housing, quality health care, and supportive services – needs that will challenge and transform the system entrusted with providing these services for a rapidly expanding aging population.   At the same time, the growing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors and their increasing degree of openness and demands for fair and equal treatment are further challenging the elder care system to meet the needs of all seniors. This shift signals the urgent need to radically transform and redesign gerontological and geriatric health care paradigms.

Workshops on day one at the First National Convening of LGBT Aging Professionals.

Older Americans are also growing more radically and ethnically diverse.  In 2000, an estimated 84 percent of persons aging 65 and older were non-Hispanic white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent was Native American/Alaska Native.

Brendalynn Goodall, MSW and Carmen Vazquez, Coordinator, AIDS Institute.

By 2050, estimates indicate that approximately 64 percent of persons age 65 or older will be non-Hispanic white, 16 percent will be Hispanic, 12 percent will be non-Hispanic black, and 7 percent will be Asian/Pacific Islanders.  Service providers must take this growing diversity into account as they strive to provide quality services that genuinely meet seniors needs.

Curtis Lipscomb, Executive Dir., KICK--The Agency for LGBT African Americans.

All elders contend with many of the same aging-related issues, however, LGBT seniors and people of color (POC) LGBT in particular face many unique challenges. These seniors are “thrice-Hidden” due to social discrimination on levels: ageism, racism, homophobia and heteroism.

Benjamin J. F. Cruz, Chairman Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Procurement, General Governmental Operations, and Public Broadcasting.

LGBT seniors often face anti-gay to gender discrimination by mainstream elders care providers that renders them “invisible” and impedes their access to vital services.  At the same time, LGBT elders frequently confront ageism within the LGBT community and the organizations created to serve the community’s needs.

Jewelle Gomez and Christopher Bates, CEO, PACHA.

This First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging is a collective declaration of the urgent need to reframe and transform the conventional “aging” health care landscape as it directly impacts POC LGBT elders.  We must move beyond problem solving in isolation to forging sustainable and innovative collaboration among aging, health and LGBT network.

Nancy K. Bereano (center).

It is essential to collectively advocate for the integration of both ethno-geriatrics and adult transformational learning into all aspects of health care delivery for POC LGBT elders.  This is a crucial time for advocates to communicate, hold each other accountable and present a untied front, especially during this period of national debate over the future of federal programs critical to the well-being of seniors.

Elita Rosillo-Christiansen

VP, Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion

Chief Diversity Officer, HR Group

INSIGHTS ON CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS – Post 4

In effort to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals, GRIOT Circle provides post #4 in this Q&A series.

Please use the comment tab at the bottom of this post to expand the discussion on this topic and present your questions.

WHERE CAN I WATCH OR READ A REPORT OF WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TWO-DAY CONVENING IN D.C.?

Another intended outcome of the Convening will be written reports of all interactions, discussions, decisions, suggestions made there.  We’re having a team of volunteers who will ensure faithful and detailed transcriptions will be shared with our funder and the general public.  These documents will also be made available on GRIOT Circle’s website and Blog.

HOW DO I EXPLAIN WHY THIS CONVENING IS IMPORTANT TO MY PEERS?

As stated earlier, this Convening marks a historic moment in U.S. public health where the needs of the POC LGBT elder community will be addressed competently and openly.

WILL ISSUES FACED BY CAREGIVERS BE ADDRESSED AND SOLVED?

Absolutely! One major challenge to chronic health care disparities is provider cultural competency or lack thereof.  It’s easy to talk about promoting positive health behaviors and encouraging healthier lifestyles among the POC LGBT elders, but it’s quite another thing to translate this into language, tools and concepts readily accessible to this population.  Cultural competence, at the provider level and at the institutional level, is a key goal of education on POC LGBT aging health issues.  A provider’s lack of cultural competence has been shown to negatively affect not only provider-patient interaction and care-giving, but also the patient’s care seeking behavior.  Conversely, it’s a well established health care fact that the provisions of health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients can help close the gap in health care outcomes.

Ask Our Doc: Treat Your Feet

By Dr. Kevin B. Coleman

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine,  New York State licensure

When people shop for shoes based on style or brand and how they fit with their outfit, instead of how shoes fit their feet, they’re setting themselves up for foot pain and discomfort.  Ill-fitting shoes that are too large or too small, and footwear with poor arch support are the prime agitators for foot problems.

For care of foot pain and discomfort turn to podiatrists.  These health care professionals must be licensed by the State to provide medical and surgical management of the lower extremity–which includes foot, ankle and lower leg.  They have the ability to diagnose systemic diseases and treat lower extremity manifestations.

The most common problems many podiatrists treat are toe nail disorders, such as ingrown, fungal or elongated nails, and hyperkeratoses (corns and calluses caused by tight shoes).  If you see a growth or feel discomfort make an appointment with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis.  A visit usually includes an exam, a thorough assessment and treatment recommendations.

We are medically and surgically trained to help patients with these common foot problems.  Some of the reasons why people with such ailments seek assistance from a podiatrist are:

1]  Podiatrists are specially trained to trim corns and calluses.  When people try to cut their own calluses they run the risk of injuring themselves, which could lead to possible infection.  Having a professional do this can remove the chance of accidents.

2]  Some patients have inadequate vision or limited flexibility so they can’t reach their feet well enough to safely clip their nails, thus need a podiatrist to provide this service.

3]  Diabetes and poor circulation can also create the need for assistance from a podiatrist.

In between visits to your foot doctor, patients commonly use do-it-yourself pampering practices, such as warm water foot soaks, massage to help with foot discomfort and applying a favorite foot cream.

People with diabetes and/or poor circulation should have their feet evaluated every two months by a podiatrist.  Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance are commonly used to pay for podiatry services.  Next time, the Doc will offer steps to help diabetics walk in good health.

Walk lively, see your podiatrist regularly.

____________________________

Dr. Coleman has 25 years of experience, trained at New York College of Podiatric Medicine and is based in Brooklyn.  He can be reached at 231-846-8643 to address your questions and concerns.

INSIGHTS ON CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS – Post 3

In effort to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals, GRIOT Circle provides post #3 in this Q&A series.

Please use the comment tab at the bottom of this post to expand the discussion on this topic and present your questions.

WHICH ORGANIZATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE CONVENING?

We have listed, to name a few: African Americans in Gerontology, Administration on Aging, Office of Minority Health (Capacity Building Division), OpenHouse, GRIOT Circle, Senior Service America Inc., Delaware County Office of Services, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and National Coalition for LGBT Health.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES SLATED TO BE ADDRESSED AT THE CONVENING?

We will have active conversations around older adult related topics such as: elder abuse, employment/retirement, housing, health literacy, immigration/migration, marriage equality, HIV/AIDS/STD prevention/care, religion/spirituality, etc.

IF I CAN’T BE IN WASHINGTON, DC, OCTOBER 12-13, HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVENING?

One of the intended outcomes of this Convening is the formation of a National Network of POC led organizations/providers and POC/LGBT elders.  At the Convening we will strategize mechanisms for inclusion/participation of all those who wish to be part of this historic movement.  It is likely we will rely greatly on social media, mass marketing, and other forms of outreach/communication to maximize inclusion, diversity and on going collaborations.

HOW IS THE US GOVERNMENT (MY TAX DOLLARS) INVOLVED IN THE CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS?

This Convening is being funded via the Atlantic Philanthropies Foundation and in-kind donations from AARP.

We continue this dialogue next week, please check back for more insights on the National Convening of Aging Professionals, or simply put your email address in the GET GRIOT BLOG UPDATES slot in the left column to receive alerts of new posts on the GRIOT Circle Blog.