Health of LGBT Community Focus of Lectures,New Program at BU School of Public Health

in BU In the Community, Health & Medicine, Humanities/Social Science, News Releases, School of Public Health
October 18th, 2005

Contact: Michelle Roberts, 617-639-8491 | michelle.roberts@bmc.org

(Boston) – Issues surrounding public health in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population will be explored Nov. 10, 2005, in the first lecture of a new series at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). “Why Everyone Should Care About LGBT Health” will be presented by Stewart Landers, JD, MCP, a senior consultant at John Snow, Inc., where he conducts studies and community-based participatory research in the areas of HIV/AIDS and LGBT health.

“Knowledge, resources and policy regarding LGBT health have not kept pace with the many issues identified by advocates for this population––that’s why I’m thrilled to kick off this new lecture series at the BU School of Public Health,” said Landers.

The lecture will be held at 4 p.m. in Bakst Auditorium, Boston University Medical School, 715 Albany St., Boston. The lecture is free and open to the public. It is the first public event of the recently launched BUSPH Program in LGBT Public Health Research, an effort which will bring a rigorous scientific approach to public health issues surrounding this visible yet underserved community.

Founder and director of the program, BUSPH associate professor of epidemiology Seth Welles, Sc.D., Ph.D., believes there is an unmet need for a comprehensive academic research program to address issues facing the LGBT community, including substance abuse and alcoholism, homophobia and discrimination, intimate-partner abuse, and myriad psychological issues––including the impact of gay marriage.

“These issues are significant in this community but have yet to be addressed in a scientific manner,” said Welles. “By offering this lecture, we are taking a first step toward creating a sustainable program that brings together people from BU and other institutions interested in the health and well-being of the LGBT community. We want to let people know we are here and taking on the challenge,” he said.

Landers’ will focus on why it is important to study the health of the LGBT population. “Valid information regarding the health status of the LGBT community remains scarce,” said Landers. “Effective programs to deliver care and prevention services need to be funded, designed and implemented. Until there are advances in knowledge, the resources and policy needed for change will remain elusive, and both the LGBT community and society will remain at risk,” he said.

Landers’ talk is the first of three lectures planned by BUSPH this academic year. On Feb. 9, 2006, Randall Sell, Sc.D., assistant professor at Columbia University School of Public Health’s Department of Sociomedical Sciences, will talk about the importance of collecting and understanding LGBT demographic data in research studies. Sell is an expert in collecting sexual orientation data and has written a number of peer-reviewed papers on the topic. On April 26, associate director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health, Nancy Kreiger, Ph.D., will speak about the reasons health disparities exist in the LGBT community and why it is important to understand and document the underlying causes in order to eliminate disparities.

The LGBT program is will also extend a call for original research for a new journal devoted entirely to LGBT public health issues. The first publication is planned for next spring to coincide with the public inauguration of the larger program.

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