Yet another life lost to smoking

We are deeply saddened to report that Bill Busse, a Tips From Former Smokers ad participant, has passed away. The cause of death was heart disease, which is very common for smokers. Bill shared his story on the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign about the affects that smoking had on his health (made more severe by diabetes, which he had since childhood).

The CDC released a statement from Tim McAfee, Director, CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health on the passing of Bill Busse. The CDC asks that you please direct any questions and/or condolences to The CDC will make sure that your correspondence is forwarded to Bill’s family.

Bill’s health problems didn’t stop him from heroically coming forward towarn other smokers of some of the dangers they faced if they don’t quit smoking.  Nor did his health problems stop Bill from enjoying time with his kids.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill’s wife, two children and two step-children, as well as his parents and his sister.

A tip for smokers, from the man himself; “Make a list and put the people you love at the top, put down your eyes your legs your kidneys and your heart, now cross off all the things you’re okay with losing, because you’d rather smoke.”

You can view Bill Busse’s videos here.


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Michael G. Bare
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network 

We are very excited to tell you about a project we have been spending time getting together. This September in Las Vegas, the National LGBT Cancer Network is bringing together a small team of experts in LGBT people’s experiences in cancer care from across the country.  This is the first of two meetings, with work done remotely in between, which will work towards producing a manual for Best and Promising Practices in Cancer in the LGBT Community.  

Our intention is to really consider both the cancer care continuum, as well as a variety of issues that cut across the continuum, while honoring identity specific and intersectional issues. What are the best practices in delivering cancer services and educational messages to the LGBT community? No one really knows yet, as nothing is currently written down anywhere, let alone in the same place.  Cancer is commonly understood as being a continuum, from prevention to screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care. Most researchers, policy people and clinicians tend to be experts in only one of those areas.  We need to bring them all together.

LGBT HealthLink: The Network for Health Equity previously developed MPOWERED: Best and Promising Practices for LGBT Tobacco Prevention and Control, which was released in summer of 2012.  We are piggybacking on their processes and experiences in developing MPOWERED as a template for developing our own Best and Promising Practices in Cancer in the LGBT Community.  MPOWERED went on to be presented at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in 2012, and LGBT HealthLink did a cross agency training on MPOWERED across all CDC departments. Not only do we intend to achieve similar goals with our Best and Promising Practices in Cancer in the LGBT Community, but we also hope to bring it to state health departments and cancer screening and treatment centers, and show how they can improve their services and outreach, thereby improving health outcomes and cancer survival rates of LGBT people post-treatment.

We have invited attendees, booked a hotel and meeting center, and flights are starting to get booked. With each planning email or phone call, our excitement to begin this work begins!


Dr Herukhuti-Lambda 2014

Herukhuti, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Professor, Goddard College

Founder and CEO, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality

“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? I like to caution folks, that’s all. No sense us wasting each other’s time, sweetheart. A lot of weight when you’re well. Now, you just hold that thought…. Just so’s you’re sure. sweetheart, and ready to be healed cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.” – Minnie Ransom in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters

The health and wellbeing of Black people. Who will take the weight of the wholeness and wellness of people who Europeans brought to the Western hemisphere as chattel slaves, marked as sub-human in scientific journals, made to live in dehumanizing conditions up to and including the present moment? In 1977, the members of the Combahee River Collective, stated, “We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community which allows us to continue our struggle and work.”

The articulation of self-determination in Black communities has not been unique to Black women. Essex Hemphill, in his poem For My Own Protection, answered the question thusly, “I want to start an organization to save my life…. the lives of Black men are priceless and can be saved. We should be able to save each other. I don’t want to wait for the Heritage Foundation to release a study saying Black people are almost extinct…. I don’t want to be the living dead pacified with drugs, sex and rock-n-roll…. If we have to take tomorrow with blood are we ready?… All I want to know for my own protection is are we capable of whatever whenever.”

As we discussed the IOM report recommendations for research training, it became obvious that there is currently no research training center dedicated to LGBT health research run by Black people or even with Black people in significant positions of power and authority in the United States. Zero. The Conference on Current Issues in LGBTI Health Research, which the organizers characterized as an international conference and had presenters and attendees from Asia, Latin America and the United States, had one Black presenter.

Recommendation Six of the IOM Report made the following assertions:

“To create a more robust cadre of researchers in LGBT health, NIH should expand its existing research training framework for both intramural and extramural training. Three audiences should be targeted: researchers who are working with or considering working with LGBT populations, other researchers who may not be aware of LGBT health issues, and NIH staff.” p.304

“In its intramural training program, NIH should develop postdoctoral training opportunities in the area of LGBT research (for example, research on youth and families). Similarly, NIH should expand the curriculum of its postbaccalaureate NIH Academy to include LGBT-specific issues in addition to the racial and ethnic disparities that are currently studied within the program. To implement these research training activities, NIH should increase its capacity to provide on-site experts as mentors for researchers examining LGBT health issues.” p.304

“Within its existing extramural program, NIH should increase the number of individual awards offered to researchers studying LGBT health issues, including postdoctoral, graduate student, and career awards. In addition, the current loan repayment program should be expanded to assist students who choose to study LGBT health issues. In particular, the development of researchers of color who will study LGBT health should be encouraged.“ p.305

If these recommendations are to be implemented in ways that lead to tangible, material improvements in the health, wholeness and wellbeing of Black people, they have to be implemented in a different context than has been attempted previously. The Eurocentric and white-dominated systems, structures and mechanisms can not be the vehicles for implementation because they have proven to be ineffective in addressing the tangible, material conditions of Black people–despite the good intentions of well-meaning white allies.

It is time (as it has always been the time) for us to liberate and save ourselves. We need a national convening of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, same-gender loving, and queer organizations, leadership and researchers to generate a health agenda that addresses our needs, realities, and aspirations. It will mean recognizing the areas of common experience as well as the uniquenesses that exists across Black folks who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, same-gender loving, and queer. It will entail our embrace of our indigenous knowledge of our communities (both grassroots knowledge and scientific knowledge) as well as considering the value of the work that has been conducted outside of our communities such as the IOM report. It will require the cultural confidence evidenced in the Combahee River Collective Statement and Essex Hemphill’s poem to believe that we can take the weight and the cultural sophistication to realize that we are the only ones who ever could.

Dr. Herukhuti is founder and Chief Erotics Officer (CEO) of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality and editor-in-chief of He is also a member of the faculty at Goddard College. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr and like his Facebook Fan page.


Announcing Our New Name – LGBT HealthLink: The Network for Health Equity

Headshot Scout
Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
If you’ve ever stumbled over our name, you are not alone. We originally designed the name of the Network for LGBT Health Equity to be crystal clear about who were were as we built awareness among state departments of health but as we all heard, it was long and people stumbled over it often.

A year ago, we moved our organization to CenterLink, the community of LGBT Centers. We are really enjoying being so integrated with community centers across the land and want to tell everyone where we live.

It’s time, we now need a new name that reflects our home and how we’re not the new kids on the block any more.

So please welcome me in introducing our new name…

LGBT HealthLink

The Network for Health Equity

If you liked us before, you will love us now. It will also be easier to remember our new name and our new home.

Stay tuned as we really start to do more brand building on this name over the next year. We want to be as well known among LGBT leadership as we are to state departments of health. If you’ve got any good ideas for that, we’re all ears!

Top Goals of the Tobacco & Cancer Disparity Networks for Coming Year

Headshot Scout
Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Yes, I’m still at the same meeting (I know it’s only 60 seconds later)… and our next question was what were our top goals for the coming year? So, let’s jump right in.

Top Goals for Next Year

National Council for Behavioral Health / mental health

  • Continue to hold state strategy sessions to see what’s been done and where there are opportunities to move the needle.
  • Examine their current (extensive) workforce development programs to see how tobacco & cancer information can be bolstered
  • Looking to leverage more opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with the sister networks as a body

Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan / American Indian

  • Looking to promote lung cancer screening, awareness and availability. (there’s low awareness on this now)
  • Creating information repositories on their website, of toolkits, links to outside information, etc.
  • Promoting tobacco screening for youth in tribal clinics through onsite trainings
  • Promoting community and clinical linkages among the tribal health clinics

RAISE / Asian American/Pacific Islander

  • Disseminating cancer and tobacco equity information to the different partners
  • Providing technical assistance to the different partners
  • Coming big 20th anniversary conference in SF

Patient Advocacy Foundation / low socioeconomic status

  • Build the network!
  • Launch a website
  • Leaning into media and social media to get information out to the people who really need to understand resources

CADCA / geographic health equity

  • Engage the network partners in meaningful ways, especially the sister disparity networks
  • Amplify the message by building a following for the network on social media
  • Building breadth & depth, especially starting conversations about how we define ourselves as a community. Maybe an Instagram campaign of selfies?
  • Building capacity & coalition, looking at readiness of different states to change policies.
  • Being a repository for information

LGBT Network (<– guess who)

  • Enduring the fallout after we give a bunch of states F’s on their LGBT inclusion report cards/rebuilding relationships with some states/providing more technical assistance to states to help them up their game
  • Launching, with the National LGBT Cancer Network, the first ever National LGBT Cancer Action Plan
  • Launching, with the National LGBT Cancer Network, the first LGBT Cancer Best Practices compilation
  • Creating model wellness policies for LGBT community centers, working with centers to see who can adopt these policies

NAATPN / African American/African

  • Intercultural Cancer Council created a guide about how to work with specific populations related to health disparities, looking to expand and finish it in year 2.
  • Looking for other cities that might adopt the Chicago model to ban flavored cigarette sales near schools
  • Work with the SouthEast Intercultural Cancer Council region to drill down into a system or policy change which can be implemented to affect cancer disparities.
  • The faith based summit in year one has really taken off, looking to expand it in year two.

National Alliance for Hispanic Health

  • Continuing to build the infrastructure of the network
  • Look at secondhand smoke and see how it affects different populations, especially in the southeast
  • Promote skin/cervical/colorectal cancer awareness and screening to coincide with and support CDC’s emphasis on same

Top Accomplishments of Tobacco & Cancer Disparity Networks This Year

Headshot Scout
Director of CenterLink’s Network for LGBT Health Equity
Hey y’all — Daniella and Liz (National LGBT Cancer Network) and I are all down in Atlanta this week for the gathering of all the 50 state cancer program staff. But first, we get a few days to meet with our sister disparity networks. We’re about to come up on our first year anniversary of having this new expanded funding for cancer too. So as part of our introductions, we’re going over our biggest accomplishments of the past year. Thought I’d take notes as best I could to help you see what the different disparity networks have been up to.
If the focus of their network isn’t clear by their name, I’ve put their official focus right after the name.
National Council for Behavioral Health / mental health equity
  • Launch their newsletter
  • Have a series of webinars, including one with tobacco leadership + one on LGBT outreach
  • Convening 9 states for a leadership summit on tobacco and cancer

Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan / American Indian

  • Building infrastructure
  • Continuing/expanding their webinar series
  • Identifying areas they want to grow in the future

RAISE / Asian American/Pacific Islander

  • Developed their own website
  • Launched a blog to highlight their work
  • Moving into social media, watch for #RAISEwellness hashtag
  • Web portal with culturally specific cancer materials (through partnership)

Patient Advocacy Foundation / low socioeconomic health equity

  • They just got the award a few weeks ago, so their biggest accomplishment is getting the award

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) / geographic health equity

  • Just funded this year so many of their accomplishments are in building their network
  • Doing a lot of theory work, creating a model of change for the work
  • Listening sessions from community leadership
  • Build new website, new brand
  • Held in person symposium gathering needs input
  • Forthcoming supplement in 300 newspapers around the country on geographic disparities)

LGBT Network (<– us!)

  • launched/curated Wellness page on Huffington Post Gay Voices + weekly top LGBT Wellness news series
  • held first National LGBT Cancer Summit
  • launched tobacco infographic in conjunction with 50th anniversary Surgeon General’s report (#SGR50), got 14 news stories off that release
  • surveyed all community centers for baseline info on existing wellness policies & practices
  • launched template wellness needs assessment, currently being used by AR, MI, and forthcoming for WI, VT.
  • surveyed community centers to establish baseline of wellness activities/policies
  • Coming in days, new website!

National African American Tobacco Prevention Network

  • Worked with Chicago to help the City move to restricting selling flavored tobacco (menthol) near public schools.
  • Worked with Intercultural Cancer Council to create a weeklong workshop on health disparities
  • Hosting a faith based summit to educate leadership on tobacco & cancer disparity issues.

National Alliance for Hispanic Health

  • Establishment of national advisory committee
  • Development of network website (launch in 10 days)
  • Worked with their national partners to conduct an environmental scan in 10 different states

#BWLGBTI Day 3 Part 2: Community-based research is still important




Dwayne Steward

LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health



We’ve come to the end of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University. This has been a very life-changing experience, for which I am truly grateful. Being in the room with so many experts that have and are currently making groundbreaking changes in the country, and around the world, regarding the inclusion of LGBTI communities in health research has been phenomenal. I can’t thank the Network for LGBT Health Equity enough for this amazing opportunity.

Jacob Nash

Jacob Nash

The conference began it’s last half with two lively panel discussions. The first was “Community Perspectives Regarding LGBTI Health” featuring Jacob Nash (transgender activist and director of Margie’s Hope), Alana Jochum (Equality Ohio’s Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinator) and Maya Simek (program director for The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland). Jochum made some very interesting points regarding how LGBTI health research has made historic advances in LGBTI rights possible. She referenced several court cases that have used the statistics compiled by researchers, several in the room, in major courtroom arguments for marriage equality. Her examples helped further illustrate the need for the work of those attending the conference. Nash and Simek put out calls to researchers for more specified research studies on marginalized populations and offered insights on the health issues they’re seeing among marginalized populations. They both reiterated the need for more collaboration between activists and health researchers.

The conference officially ended with “LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” with a very dynamic panel of LGBTI health community organizers from Latin America and India.


“LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” Panel

Wendy Castillo, a community organizer from El Salvador who has done work providing safe spaces for lesbian and transgender women, spoke at length about the tragic murders that continue take the lives of transgender women regularly in El Salvodor and the struggles organizations there face with trying to keep transgender women safe. Daniel Armando Calderon and Alejandro Rodriguez, both community organizers around issues facing the MSM community in Columbia, discussed how they try to decrease barriers for “heterosexual MSM’ and other special populations needing HIV care and other health services.

Vivek Anand, of Humsafar Trust, closed out the conference with more detail regarding his efforts regarding the recent re-criminalization of homosexuality in India. His organization has courageously come to the forefront of attacking this law that was passed by the country’s Supreme Court after massive efforts from religious leaders. I thinks it quite admirable that the work he’s doing is heralding and sometimes dangerous, but he faces it head on with an upbeat attitude. He ended his presentation with a video of Gaysi‘s (an LGBT advocacy organization in Mumbai) #notgoingback campaign, one of the efforts to build awareness and garner support for repealing the law. The upbeat video, featuring Pharrell Williams’ massive hit song “Happy,” is a perfect representation of Anand’s bubbly activist spirit.

And thus we end our time together my friends. Please always remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that I used to start this blog series, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let’s never end this very important conversation!