The Chicago Department of Public Health has released a new action plan to address various disparities in the healthcare services available to the city’s LGBT community. The plan outlines 22 strategies, including these highlights:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Promote inclusion of same sex couples in programs aimed at healthy pregnancies, childbirth and early childhood health.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who recently committed to supporting marriage equality, lauded the new plan, saying, “Chicago’s strength is in the diversity of its communities 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.” Indeed, the plan was developed in consultation with the city’s LGBT constituents to ensure it best meets the community’s needs. The complete action plan can be found on the city of Chicago’s website.