Harvard marks Pride Month with new LGBTQ+ Health Center of Excellence

Author: Christopher Wiggins

A newLGBTQ+health center is set to open in Massachusetts.

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, in collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will launch the LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence on June 4. The center aims to advance health equity for LGBTQ+ communities by leveraging both institutions’ research and teaching capabilities, according to a press release.

Brittany Charlton, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Chan School and a noted scholar on reproductive health and cancer disparities affecting LGBTQ+ communities, will lead the center.

“One in ten people in the U.S. are LGBTQ, and this population will grow, as that number is twice as high among young people. LGBTQ people experience widespread discrimination resulting in adverse physical and mental health,” Charlton said in the release. “As leaders in public health and medicine, we have both the responsibility and the opportunity to drive real change.”

The center will focus on training, research, and dissemination to prepare the next generation of LGBTQ+ health leaders, expand the evidence base for LGBTQ+ health, and inform policymakers and health care providers on effective strategies to improve LGBTQ+ health outcomes.

“Public health is key to addressing inequities in LGBTQ health, but the field lacks infrastructure to prepare learners to have the necessary skills to protect the health of this marginalized population and to be leaders in the field,” Charlton said. “We have a clear vision of how our center will train the next generation of leaders not only to continue to document that inequities exist but also to design interventions and advocate for policy changes that tangibly improve the lives of LGBTQ people.”

The center’s initiatives for its inaugural year include awarding tuition scholarships to students focused on LGBTQ+ health, designing new courses on LGBTQ+ health research methodology, providing pilot grants for LGBTQ+ health research, and launching a fellowship program to train public health leaders in engaging the public on LGBTQ+ health issues.

Emily Oken, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and a professor at Harvard Medical School, emphasized the center’s potential.

“The Institute is distinctive for aligning researchers and resources to optimize health care policy, care delivery, and outcomes. The LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence stands poised to create the change needed to right the inequities that face this population,” Oken said. “Dr. Charlton has assembled what you might call a ‘dream team’ of researchers across both institutions for this purpose.”

The center will officially launch with a family-friendly Pride 2024 launch event at the Harvard Chan School on June 4.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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