(Chicago, IL) – April 3, 2012. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched a Community Action Plan outlining strategies to address the specific health needs of Chicago’s gay community, including targeting well-above average smoking habits.
“There are clear disparities in health status among the city’s diverse LGBT community that require specific strategies to target and address these concerns,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The plan was developed in coordination with city leaders and community health providers and input from residents and allies of the gay and lesbian community. It serves as a supplement to Healthy Chicago, the City’s public health agenda and identifies ways to address concerns within the city’s LGBT community, including: HIV prevention, access to care, high rates of tobacco use and obesity.
“Chicago’s strength is in the diversity of its communities,” said Emanuel, “and I am committed to ensuring that all Chicagoans have access to the care and information they need to live healthy lives and contribute fully to the vibrancy of our city.”
Highlights of the LGBT Community Action Plan:
- Increase tobacco cessation efforts in the LGBT community to address the high prevalence of smoking, which is at 30 percent, 12 percentage points higher than the 18 percent of the overall population.
- Improve the tracking of hate crimes against transgender persons, publicize resources for reporting violence, and conduct outreach on strategies to avoid violence.
- Develop cultural competency training to help educate health care providers, employers and educators on the health needs of the LGBT community.
- Promote inclusion of same sex couples in programs aimed at healthy pregnancies, childbirth and early childhood health.
- Promote the collection of sexual orientation data in electronic medical records and encourage researchers focused on LGBT health to share findings and develop new LGBT health research.
Partners who assisted CDPH in the development of this plan include the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Howard Brown Health Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Affinity Community Services and the Center on Halsted.