Healthy People 2020 At Work in the Community: LGBT Health Outcomes Planning Project
Besides trying to serve LGBT individuals and communities in Colorado, LGBT HOPP included "their children, their parents, their siblings, and their families who care about them" because LGBT health" is important to a much broader segment of our state," elaborated Ms. Graves.
Ms. Graves and her colleagues at CDPHE from different programs utilized a participatory planning process to draw upon the experiences and ideas of the organizations and communities already trying to address LGBT health.
During the strategic planning process, "over 100 people on our roster participated in one way or another," stated Ms. Graves. Participation and partnership were essential to the success of this project as individuals and organizations "committed staff time and resources to this process," continued Ms. Graves.
From the strategic planning process, LGBT HOPP created "a very clear and actionable plan" not only for CDPHE but also for the external partners to "more explicitly and intentionally address LGBT health," described Ms. Graves.
Increased Awareness at CDPHE
One positive outcome of the LGBT HOPP is that another division within CDPHE now includes LGBT communities in its focus on health disparities. The Colorado Office of Health Disparities has focused their efforts on health equity "as it relates to ethnic/racial minorities, and now as a result of the LGBT HOPP project, that office has expanded its focus on health disparities to be inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and disparities within those minority communities," explained Julie Graves.
Everyone who participated in the planning process received the plan describing four goal areas related to LGBT access to health, community engagement, LGBT policy, and LGBT-related data.
The project intended for participants to take the action plan back “to their agencies and their networks that they are already working in to demonstrate the commitment from their state-level public health agency,” continued Ms. Graves.
"We realized we needed to do a more intentional job of paying attention to the needs of this population."—Julie Graves, Program Evaluator, CDPHE
The funding from the Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project was critical to the success of LGBT HOPP because "resources are tight, specifically around doing health equity work," stated Ms. Graves.
One important lesson that CDPHE learned during the implementation of LGBT HOPP was how to bring people to the table when it was state government doing the work. "The lesson we’ve learned is we need to expand our creativity in inviting a diverse range of communities to these processes," explained Ms. Graves.
As CDPHE continues to implement the action plan, one positive change has been an "increased visibility of the topic and issues surrounding LGBT health," concluded Ms. Graves.
"People are at different places on a continuum in their learning processes and understanding about health equity and how inequities happen. It takes a consistent, non-defensive, and open communication effort to really meet people wherever they are in that learning process and try to help them make the next step."—Julie Graves, Program Evaluator, CDPHE
LGBT Health Outcomes Planning Project
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) challenged America’s health organizations to come up with new and innovative projects that could tackle some of today’s most pressing public health issues.
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