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July 2015 Blogs

Posted on Jul 28, 2015

LGBT Communities Meet at IHS Headquarters

Yesterday, IHS Headquarters in Maryland hosted a public meeting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health issues. We had a dynamic and productive conversation. If you were able to attend-thank you for making time for this important discussion. I am grateful for your participation and for the great ideas that you so generously shared with us.

IHS is committed to achieving equal access to health care for all American Indian and Alaska Native people, including LGBT communities. The goal of yesterday's meeting was to gain a better understanding of the health care needs of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT individuals so that IHS can implement changes in health policy and health care delivery, changes that will enhance the health care that these groups receive. We discussed recommendations and opportunities in the areas of clinical practice, behavioral health, services and eligibility, and organizational strategies.

Through Listening Sessions like this one, we seek to increase community access to and engagement with IHS leadership. We hope to secure a legacy of transparent, accountable, fair, and inclusive decision-making specific to American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT people. We took important steps towards that goal yesterday. In approximately 10 days, IHS will release a report of the meeting, so please keep a look out.

In addition to this meeting, IHS recently closed a formal public comment period on several key dimensions of the health needs of the American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT communities. Many of you responded to that request, and we are carefully considering those comments, as well.

We celebrate these important efforts to advance and promote the health of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT communities.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Principal Deputy Director, Mr. Robert McSwain, addresses the meeting from a podium while other members of IHS leadership seated at the front of the room look on, including Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan V. Karol, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Director, Mr. Geoffrey Roth, and Director of the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, Dr. Alec Thundercloud, M.D.
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - A group of about 30 meeting attendees and IHS staff gathered for a group photo in the conference room during the IHS Meeting on American Indian and Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues.