When I’ve given trainings to healthcare and social services providers about cancer in the LGBTQ communities, I always find it interesting to ask the audience, “Does it matter who a breast lump spent Valentine’s Day with?” Or, “Does it matter what country the lump’s grandparents were born in?” Most participants say, overwhelmingly, no, a lump is a lump is a lump: we should treat patients the same irrespective of their racial and ethnic backgrounds or their sexual orientation. But as we’ve learned this National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, cancer affects different populations differently, and minority groups in the United States continue to bear a greater cancer burden.
Much of this difference is due to factors like poverty and lack.... Read More
The 2015 Aging in America Conference: First Time Experiences and Diverse Perspectives
The 2015 Aging in America Conference wraps up today in Chicago, IL. This week has provided a unique opportunity for the Diverse Elders Coalition and its members to share their work and connect with thousands of other participants from around the country working on issues of concern for elders. As a first time attendee, I was particularly impressed with (and maybe a bit overwhelmed by) the size and scope of the conference.
I kicked off the conference on the first day with a morning session talking about HIV/AIDS as part of an inter-generational dialogue entitled “Being Gay Ain’t What it Used to Be” with my colleague and friend, Read More
LGBT Health Awareness Week: It’s Time To Come Together
March 23-27 marks National LGBT Health Awareness Week, and we at the Diverse Elders Coalition are excited to raise awareness about the issues facing the LGBTQ communities, especially LGBT older people. The National Coalition for LGBT Health created National LGBT Health Awareness Week in 2003 to promote increased health awareness and outcomes in the LGBT community and promote the need for greater cultural competency in the healthcare system. This year’s theme is “Time to Come Together: Trust, Transparency, Truth.”
Throughout the Week, the Coalition brings together national and state LGBT organizations, health centers, health departments, universities, health organizations,.... Read More
National Native HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day: New Mexico’s Take
March 20th – the first day of spring – marks the 9th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national mobilization effort designed to encourage Natives (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved in prevention, and get treated for HIV and AIDS. The Diverse Elders Coalition is commemorating this important day by offering resources to our constituents and encouraging everyone to get tested and #GetCovered. Remember that American Indians and Alaskan Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage under the ACA at any time of year – no need to wait for a designated enrollment period.
Native Americans are 0.9 percent of the U.S..... Read More
Collecting Stories from Our Communities: The Diverse Elders Stories Initiative
Some of our greatest tools to make positive change on behalf of our constituents are stories from older adults, their loved ones, advocates and community members that illustrate the struggles and triumphs of aging as people of color or LGBTQ people. We share these stories with the public on our blog and through social media to raise awareness of the issues that affect diverse elders. Your stories also allow us to show policymakers the faces behind their proposed policies and programs. With your stories, we are able to advocate for the needs of diverse elders more effectively.
Throughout my time in healthcare education and advocacy, particularly when working with LGBT people and people of color, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories about HIV/AIDS. Living in fear, losing friends and family, lack of information about and access to care – the specter of this disease looms large, particularly over those underserved communities. I remember watching Marlon Riggs’ “Ethnic Notions” in college and then being devastated to learn that we had lost this powerful and talented voice to the AIDS epidemic. This disease has taken far too many of our friends, family members, heroes, and compatriots.
This week, we wanted to spend some time sharing some of the fast moving information happening at the federal level. The items below are drawn from government sources, Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) members, and important partners.
This past Monday, the nation celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The ideals he worked and sacrificed for inform our work and we dedicate this blog post to him, his family, and his legacy.
We at DEC are hard at work on a variety of fronts. Our #SignUpB4TimesUp campaign is up and running- check out our blog for the tools to help raise awareness about the second enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and what it means for our.... Read More
NICOA Conference Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Elders
The 20th Biennial National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) Conference took place September 3rd through 6th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona. The NICOA conference was held in partnership with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, and the Area Agency on Aging, Region 8. There were 1,387 elders attending from 65 different tribal nations.
The five day affair offered a range of events and activities for participants, speakers, families, and guests. Here are some of the highlights from each day:
Wednesday September 3
The first day of the conference began with a whirlwind of activity as many more attendees than expected arrived and were registered. An opening prayer was offered. The Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 posted.... Read More
Addressing Health Equity in the Dual Eligible Demonstration Projects
“The healthcare world is changing; providers who have been serving a certain population are now serving a completely new population, a more diverse population. When you talk about cultural competency, what you really need to look at is what the customs, beliefs and values of these individuals are.” Dr. Terri Mack-Biggs, Geriatrician, Hospice of Detroit, Michigan
There is a significant demographic shift taking place in the United States, particularly for older adult populations. According to the Diverse Elders Coalition, the older population will grow far more diverse in racial, ethnic and cultural dimensions over the.... Read More
Webinar: New Opportunity to Address Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities for Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries (Dual Eligibles)
The Diverse Elders Coalition joins Community Catalyst for their latest Health Equity webinar
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers a unique opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities for individuals who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, sometimes referred to as “dual eligibles.” The dual eligible population is disproportionately non-white and they experience a high rate of health disparities. Through provisions of the ACA, more than a dozen states are launching demonstration projects focused on improving care for vulnerable dually eligible Americans. But very few states are using this new opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities, even though the demonstration design.... Read More
On April 3, 2008, my longtime friend Don (last name withheld) tested positive for HIV, the same day as his mother’s 56th birthday. He remembers the day vividly. “I had given blood to my doctor and a couple weeks later, I still hadn’t received a call. I called my doctor’s office and they said, ‘There’s an anomaly with your blood.’ I immediately freaked out and thought, ‘God, this is it.'” Don took the last appointment of the day and a few hours later received his diagnosis, along with a few referrals. He went home “to pull myself together, call my mom and wish her a happy birthday.” He wouldn’t share his HIV status with his mother for several years.
The AID Institute’s 7th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD) will be observed September 18, 2014 with the theme “Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn’t have to be!” For more information about HIV/AIDS and older Americans or to become involved with the campaign, visit www.NHAAAD.org.
Among diverse communities, the stigma of HIV is a cause of shame, embarrassment, and worse of all, denial and silence. When denial and silence are present, the lack of communication and information lead to myths and misinformation. Worst of all, silence results in increased infections and is inevitably compounded by stigma, which leads to people living with HIV who are undiagnosed and therefore, untreated.