LGBTQ Health and Wellness Initiative
In 2014, the Washington AIDS Partnership expanded its programming to include a Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Health and Wellness initiative. Funds were awarded over three years to support game-changing ideas that have fostered positive and long-term change for and improvements in the quality of life and health of LGBTQ populations.
In 2014 – 2016, a total of $485,000 was awarded to three organizations:
Children’s National Health System
Children’s National is the largest provider of pediatric, adolescent, and young adult care in the Greater Washington region. Partnership funding supported LGBTQ cultural competency training for Children’s providers and general staff, along with affiliated providers and those outside of Children’s network. The project educated 2,083 internal and external pediatric health care providers and other staff about the unique challenges facing LGBTQ youth, assessing issues experienced by this population, and best practices for effective care. Education occurred through a variety of methods, including smaller workshops targeting specific groups of providers, webinars that provided CEU/CME ongoing education credit, and two regional conferences on LGBTQ youth health needs. Other areas of focus included making Children’s a safe space for LGBTQ staff, as well as LGBTQ parents who bring their children in for care, through Children’s new Safe Space Ally program. A key result of this work was the opening of Children’s Youth Pride Clinic which offers culturally competent primary and specialty care for LGBTQ youth.
Creating LGBTQ cultural competency at the region’s largest youth health care provider, Children’s Youth Pride Clinic, and the Safe Space Ally program are “game-changers” for the region and Children’s. This work is a model for children’s hospitals around the country.
HIPS promotes the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by sexual exchange and/or drug use due to choice, coercion, or circumstance. HIPS provides compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency. Awarded in July 2016, Partnership funding supports the development of a housing program for low-income, homeless LGBTQ individuals in Washington, DC. Housing is a major problem in Washington, DC, especially among low-income LGBTQ populations. HIPS is serving as an advocate for homeless LGBTQ individuals, ensuring they get access to housing assistance, are placed in LGBTQ-supportive housing, and get needed wrap-around services.
Metro TeenAIDS/Whitman-Walker Health
Metro TeenAIDS (MTA), one of the few HIV/AIDS organizations in the region focused solely on youth, merged with Whitman-Walker Health (WWH). MTA’s programming is continuing, including the Partnership-funded Youth Health Innovation Lab for leadership, research, advocacy, and capacity-building. Through the project, WWH held educational workshops and focus groups with LGBTQ youth to understand how they define “health” and “wellness,” and the factors that affect their well-being. WWH also conducted interviews with local thought leaders who have significant experience working with LGBTQ youth to learn about gaps in services and potential solutions. The data gathered is informing WWH’s new programming and medical services for LGBTQ youth, and being shared with the local community and nationally.