LGBTQ Health and Wellness Initiative
In 2014, the Washington AIDS Partnership expanded its programming to include a Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, and Questioning (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 supports LGBTQ cultural competency training for Children’s providers and general staff, along with affiliated providers and those outside of Children’s network. The project focuses on educating providers about the unique challenges facing LGBTQ youth, assessing issues experienced by this population, and best practices for effective care. Education has occurred through a variety of methods, including smaller workshops targeting specific groups of providers, webinars that provide CEU/CME ongoing education credit, and a regional conference on LGBTQ youth health needs. Other areas of focus include 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 is the opening of Children’s Youth Pride Clinic which offers culturally competent primary and specialty care for LGBTQ youth.
The impact of this work could be far-reaching. It is not only helping Children’s staff and affiliated providers become more inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ communities, but it has the potential to become 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. Partnership funding supports the development of a housing program for low-income, homeless LGBTQ individuals in Washington, D.C. Housing is a major problem for Washington, D.C., especially among low-income LGBTQ populations. HIPS will serve 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 is designing and implementing a case study to assess how LGBTQ youth-serving health centers can better collect sexual orientation and gender identity data so the local community is better able to identify LGBTQ youth and their needs. WWH is also working directly with LGBTQ youth through focus groups to provide space for youth to define health and wellness for themselves. The data gathered will be used to inform WWH’s new programming and medical services for LGBTQ youth, and local public policy through advocacy activities.