| JM RAYBURN
The Greater Columbus LGBTQ Health Coalition is a community-based initiative that consists of health care providers, caregivers, community leaders, organizations, and allies, all with the goal of fostering positive health and safety outcomes within the city’s gender and sexually diverse communities. This includes, but is not limited to, becoming a visible voice of advocacy for gender and sexually diverse clients, educating and providing inclusive wellness resources and filling data gaps in research.
The LGBTQ Health Coalition, in partnership with the Wexner Medical Center, will be hosting the first Central Ohio LGBTQ Health Equity Conference on October 30th-31st at The Ohio State University. The purpose of the conference is to identify various health disparities within the LGBTQ communities and to address the lack of data as it relates to LGBTQ individuals. In an effort to recognize and honor the work of health and social service providers who have or are currently providing culturally competent care and services, the organizers are proud to announce the debut of the Health Impact Leader Awards that will be presented this year during the conference.
The purpose of the award ceremony is to recognize individual physicians, nurses, social workers, advocates, community members, volunteers, and agencies that have made a positive impact on the health of the LGBTQ Community. Individual nominees need not be LGBTQ identified, nor must they have made contributions as part of their professional employment. The LGBTQ Health Coalition hopes to recognize the work of both seasoned and emerging leaders who have made a significant impact on the health of this community. Nominations may also be submitted by email to ColumbusLGBTQHealth@gmail.com. Please include name of nominee, contact information, place of employment, and brief summary for the basis of nomination. All nominations are due July 31st, 2015.
Recently, Quorum Columbus sat down with Dr. John Davis, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases at Ohio State University and LGBT healthcare expert, to discuss the significance of the HILA award for our community.
What are the most important values a Health Impact Leader can demonstrate?
I think the most important value would be commitment to serving the LGBTQ community. For example, health or social service nominees might have promoted their services to the LGBTQ community, fostered an LGBTQ friendly office environment, or have asked clients or patients demographic information questions in a way that affirms a diversity of experiences of gender identity and sexual orientation. Community advocates might have displayed exceedingly generous behavior toward improving health for the LGBTQ community as a whole, or even on an individual level.
For example, a heterosexual couple in Columbus lost two sons to HIV in the early years of the epidemic. They turned their grief into community action and spent the next 20 years delivering meals to HIV+ individuals all over Columbus. They collected aluminum cans to raise money to fund a client holiday dinner for 200 HIV+ community members every Christmas. In the case of community organizations, a HILA nominee may have supported LGBTQ health improvement efforts through spearheading programming for the community, or securing grant funds to provide services to community members. We really want to recognize those advocates, organizations, and service providers who have been there for the community in an ongoing and positive way.
What ought to motivate a Health Impact Leader?
I think community service, social justice and a desire to improve health outcomes for an underserved community are some of the motivations that might inspire someone who embodies the spirit of a Health Impact Leader. A HILA nominee would have gone above and beyond expectations to dedicate himself or herself to improving some aspect of health or wellness in this population.
Is there more weight placed on how many followers an individual has or how many other leaders they inspire?
No. We are not looking to recognize nominees based on size or scope of practice or service. We recognize that in some cases an individual can have just as much impact on a few people as an organization can have on many people. We expect to award several nominees in distinct categories. For example, we may have an award for physicians, an award for social workers, one for a community advocate, etc. We are not trying to evaluate every nominee according to the same standards, but rather to group nominees in categories and look for the nominees with really stellar stories.
Given your experience, what kind of leader is needed to further health equity within the Columbus LGBTQ community?
We need leaders who recognize the impact of stigma, discrimination, heterosexism, transphobia, and other negative attitudes toward those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities have on LGBTQ identified people. We need leaders who are willing to talk about these things and work to dismantle them. We need providers and agencies that welcome the LGBTQ community and are committed to providing LGBTQ-centered care. We need public policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Ultimately, we need people who are willing to go the extra mile to serve our historically underserved community.