Health Initiative strives to meet LGBT Georgia’s needs
Expect to see the Health Initiative at more LGBT events across the state, including some of the state’s largest Pride festivals outside of Atlanta.
“We’re trying to partner with each of the Pride organizations around the state,” Ellis said. “We want to go in and offer a community training for healthcare providers for that area and a corresponding health fair.”
The idea is that the Health Initiative can work with local organizations and care providers to create a network of LGBT-friendly (and properly trained) medical professionals around the state.
The biggest challenge, Ellis said, of reaching out to LGBT individuals regarding their health is crafting a message that will received by people who may have spent time outside of the traditional healthcare system.
“If you don’t see yourself in the health message, you’re not as likely to adopt it, particularly for younger people,” Ellis said. “We have to come up with a way to help, whether it’s to do more push ups or shifting your diet. We have to come up with ways to make that a priority as a community.” The Health Fund: Provides access to health screenings, annual physicals, dental treatments, prescription medication and more by working with LGBTQ providers who offer free or discounted services. When donations make it possible, can offer direct assistance to those who apply and are approved. Real Bois Talk: A program for masculineidentified African-American gay females. The program meets monthly at the Rush Center. Domestic Violence Perpetrators and Survivors Support Groups: For survivors, the group offers a chance to work toward their recovery in a group atmosphere. For perpetrators, a separate program is designed to help manage anger and teach preventative measures. Both groups meet once a week at the Rush Center. Weight Watchers: A health-conscious weight loss group meets every Saturday morning at the Rush Center. Fourth Tuesday: The Health Initiative’s social group for women meets to promote healthy business and personal networking. The group regularly hosts dinners and social mixers throughout the year. SAGE Atlanta (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders): This group serves LGBT seniors by providing the opportunity for social interaction and advocacy. The group meets every Thursday morning at the Rush Center. Decatur Women’s Sports League: Softball, bowling, volleyball and other sports are organized to benefit the Health Initiative. For schedules, visit www.decaturwomenssportsleague.info
The Fall Garden Party is the largest fundraiser for the Health Initiative, which provides information and services to LGBT Georgians. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)