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First statewide briefing on LGBT health held in Sacramento

(SACRAMENTO) - The California LGBT Health and Human Services Network, a project of Equality California Institute (EQCAI), yesterday hosted the first briefing ever in the state’s capitol on the unique health care and social service needs of LGBT Californians. The briefing drew legislators and other officials to meet with experts on LGBT health and with service providers to discuss critical topics such as mental health, access to culturally competent care and the continued threat of budget cuts to critical health and human services.

"To improve the health of LGBT people, we have to build stronger bridges between the people who create policies and the people who work in our community to provide health and social services day in and day out,” said EQCAI Executive Director Geoff Kors. "This historic briefing sparked a stronger dialogue between health experts, service providers and our allies in Sacramento that will help to improve access to culturally competent care for LGBT people in communities across California. Given the dire choices under consideration for balancing the state’s budget, including more cuts to funding for HIV/AIDS services, it could not have come at a better time."

Presentations were made by providers, researchers and community-based organizations with expertise in LGBT health and human services. The briefing was attended by members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus as well as community-based organizations and state agencies that provide services to LGBT people and their families.

"The LGBT Caucus is thrilled to partner with EQCAI's Health and Human Services Network to help educate the Capitol community on the challenges facing the LGBT community in California," stated Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Chair of the LGBT Legislative Caucus. "We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers, agency officials and the philanthropic community to address the issues facing our non-profit organizations that provide critical services to the LGBT community, especially in these tough fiscal times."