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Senior Health Expo Pg.6 Community Day Pg.4 Breast Fest Pg.7 Founders Reception Pg.11 Center Launches Face 2 Face: Relevant Q-munity Conversations Feedback Forum Focuses on Brainstorming for the Future The Pride Center is looking for help as it plans for the future. The Center recently hosted “Feedback Forum,” the first event in a series called “Face 2 Face: Relevant Qmunity Conversations.” This ongoing series of dialogues brings together community members to discuss relevant issues in an open, safe space. Events in the series may feature interactive activities, panels of influential community members or controversial topics. Each event will invite and encourage those present to join in the conversation. Initial meetings, focus groups and events in the coming months will provide the Center the opportunity to listen and learn from the community. Through productive, interactive exercises, participants will share their passion and priorities for the future. Over fifty people attended the recent kick-off event including a large proportion of seniors. This number included 41 participants, seven staff members and three social work interns. Organizers structured the event’s fun exercises to focus on proactive brainstorming. Executive Director Paul Hyman shared that “voicing different opinions is often productive to overall understanding but can be counterproductive when it focuses on problems.” “Feedback Forum” provided participants the opportunity to respond to two separate but related surveys. The first survey sought feedback on the Center’s current programs and services and what should be continued. Top responses included the Center’s provision of a safe haven for LGBTQ people, the creative HIV/AIDS services including confidential testing, the PALS Project and the LIFE and CHOICES programs, seniors programs, the flea market, volunteer opportunities and the computer lab. The second survey sought feedback on what future programs and services the Center should pursue. Participants evaluated who should organize these programs, how they would be funded, what challenges they might face and how individual respondents could be involved. Cont’d On Page 3 Pride Center to Spearhead LBT Women’s Health Directory Aqua Foundation for Women Funds Community Collaboration Project Aqua Foundation for Women recently funded the Pride Center’s application to create a health directory for Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (LBT) women. The Tri-County LBT Women’s Health Initiative will develop an online, searchable data base directory. This Initiative will help provide necessary tools for LBT health consumers to access healthcare without fear and social stigma by accessing culturally competent providers. “Aqua Foundation for Women chose the Pride Center because of their standing in the community, dedicated management team and well thought out plan for creating the directory,” says Robin Schwartz, Executive Director of Aqua Foundation for Women. The Initiative represents true community collaboration. The specific proposal grew out of long-standing discussions, planning and development with Women in Network (WIN) and SunServe. The three organizations will partner collaboratively with both Arrow and Blast to develop, organize and market the resource. “We’re honored to help organize a vast tricounty effort to provide this vital support resource for women's health,” says Kristofer Fegenbush, Deputy Director of the Pride Center. “We’re collaborating with dynamic groups and leaders who have dedicated years of energy, passion and service to the health of LBT women. All of us are committed to improving access to healthcare for women. We all are thankful to Aqua for backing this vision with their dollars.” The online directory will contain healthcare practitioners in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties including gynecologists, primary care physicians and mental health professionals who work with LBT women patients. The Initiative will establish a vetting process to ensure that providers demonstrate standards of evident cultural competency. After collecting, organizing the information, the Initiative will create a creative, user-friendly website to search the directory. The directory will include information on insurance accepted by providers and free and low-cost health providers. Women will have the opportunity to provide personal testimonials and feedback on any healthcare providers they visit through the website. “This directory is vitally needed within the LBT women’s community,” according to Denise Spivak, President of Women in Network. “LBT women often do not seek out medical care, for reasons that include discrimination, lack of understanding and lack of insurance. Having a resource that says to the community ‘these medical professionals understand and will treat you with care and respect’ speaks volumes and hopefully will make a profound difference in the way that LBT women view health care.” The Initiative also will focus on establishing and implementing a creative, inclusive marketing plan. Collaborating organizations want LBT women throughout South Florida to learn about and utilize the directory – including women who may not regularly access LBT publications, social groups, businesses or organizations. “The creation of a health directory for LBT women has been discussed for many, many years in our community,” says Schwartz. Cont’d On Page 3

The Voice - December 2011

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