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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 11, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 41
UW Healthy Generation Center of Excellence presents groundbreaking research conference on LGTBQ health and longevity
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UW Healthy Generation Center of Excellence presents groundbreaking research conference on LGTBQ health and longevity

On Friday, October 4, 2019, the LGBTQ Health and Longevity Conference, presented by University of Washington's Aging with Pride, Healthy Generations, and the National LGBTQ Health and Longevity Center, was held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

Highlights of the conference include the release of the groundbreaking Washington State LGBTQ Equity and Diversity Report, based on a survey of 1,845 LGBTQ adults throughout Washington state. Other highlights include a keynote presentation by Karen Parker, PhD, director of the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and 16 breakout sessions by community members and researchers on subjects ranging from health among immigrants, to medical care for gender-diverse patients, HIV, and dementia, to sexual and reproductive health care.

The Washington State LGBTQ Equity and Diversity Project, funded by the University of Washington Population Health Initiative, was directed by Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, PhD, and included 45 advisory committee members from across the state. The ensuing report focused on the health, social, and economic disparities among LGTBQ Washingtonians aged 18 to 100, particularly in marginalized subgroups within the LGBTQ communities.

Key demographic findings of the participants include [that they were] 22% lesbian, 24% gay men, 22% bisexual, 32% queer/other; 22% trans/gender-diverse; and 25% people of color. Nearly all (90%) of the LGBTQ adult participants socially engaged with friends and family, and queer and sexually diverse, transgender, and gender-diverse adults reported higher community involvement. Some alarming findings are that sexual minority women (47%) and men (38%) have higher rates of poverty compared to heterosexual women (36%) and men (30%); half of the participants have difficulty paying bills and securing food; and 15% experienced homelessness multiple times. Opening the sold-out conference was Tavares Terry, equity, diversity, and inclusion administrator for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services' Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. Terry discussed that social isolation is not only in the LGBTQ elder communities but also in the youth of the communities, as highlighted in the Washington State LGBTQ Equity and Diversity Report. He emphasized how we as a community need to use of these findings to help connect LGBTQ youth with the 'history and wisdom of their elders.'

Karen Parker, the director of the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office at the National Institutes of Health, shared the history, mission, and strategic plan of the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office and revealed research opportunities as well.

Reuben Rivera Jackman, from Imagine Housing and board member of Generations Aging with Pride, spoke of providing a legacy and support across generations - something that he did not have during his coming-of-awareness process as a gay man.

George Dicks, Geriatric Mental Health Specialist at Harborview Medical Center, asked the conference attendee what they have learned living on this planet and how they plan to integrate that learning with their various identities. Marsha Botzer, who founded Seattle's internationally known Ingersoll Gender Center and who has served the LGBTQ and progressive communities for over 40 years, closed the opening session of the conference by inviting the participants to& 'go into the day impelled by hope, confirmed by fact, joined by colleagues and brilliance, and to raise ourselves as high as we dare.'

Many breakout sessions were held that brought together health professionals, human service and aging-related providers, researchers, scientists, educators, and advocates to highlight innovations and discuss best practices for promoting the health and well-being of the LGBTQ community and to reduce social isolation across the generations. Sessions included 'Trauma-Informed Medical Care for Gender-Diverse Patients,' by Corrine Heinen, MD; 'HIV and Health Equity Among LGBT People: Where Do We Go from Here' by Charles Emlet, PhD; and 'Promoting Two-Spirit Health and Wellness' by Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD. A resource fair was also well attended.

Going forward, we, as researchers, practitioners, mental health clinicians, community advocacies groups, and Washington state citizens and allies, need to support our LGBTQ population. This conference allowed us to celebrate and empower our unique identities and foster a belonging here in Washington.

The 2019 LGBTQ Health and Longevity Conference served as a conduit for sharing this groundbreaking research, and we invite our state into continued engagement and commitment to serving the LGBTQ community across lifespans.

Photos by Matt Hagen

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UW Healthy Generation Center of Excellence presents groundbreaking research conference on LGTBQ health and longevity
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Thoughtfully meditative Low Tide an intriguing dramatic thriller
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Doc Wrinkles the Clown a suitably malevolent bag of tricks
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