Meet the LGBT+ Advocates for Public Health Equity

By Lena Thompson, Group Member

The LGBT+ Advocates for Public Health Equity (LGBT+ Advocates) is open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals enrolled in or affiliated with the University of Iowa. We are dedicated to helping make The University of Iowa an accessible and inclusive space for all people and promote scholarly inquiry on related public health issues. Our mission is to serve as a bridge between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+), and straight communities by creating a safe space at the University of Iowa for students, faculty, and staff; advocating for and informing greater inclusion of LGBT+ health issues in the academic programming of CPH; and contributing to broader community level discussions on LGBT+ issues. We also aim to support those engaging in LGBT+ health research and practice at the University of Iowa.

Since our founding by students at the College of Public Health (CPH) in 2016, the LGBT+ Advocates have stayed busy, participating in and hosting events that we feel contribute to public health equity and inclusivity. The group meets weekly at CPH to plan participation in events, discuss relevant LGBT+ health topics, and have fun. We have hosted several events, including an LGBT Health Summit, an annual Coming Out Day Photo Booth, and a “Love Letters to Strangers” letter-writing session. This past winter, we had a booth at the Sexual Health Information Fair held right before Mirage, an annual drag show hosted at the Iowa Memorial Union. At the booth, we helped distribute the “LGBTQ Health in Iowa: Results from a State-wide Survey” report based on data collected on LGBTQ Iowans through a collaborative effort among the College of Public Health, Des Moines University, One Iowa, and the Iowa Cancer Consortium.

This upcoming year, we are looking forward to working on two new projects. The first is an effort to collect basic information about research conducted on campus with LGBT+ populations. By creating an LGBT+ research directory, we hope to connect University of Iowa students with faculty who can provide mentorship and/or research opportunities. Second, we plan to support the new Eastern Iowa branch of One Iowa in planning its first Eastern Iowa LGBTQ Health & Wellness Conference. After attending the One Iowa Annual LGBTQ Health & Wellness Conference in Des Moines last February, we are looking forward to helping to bring LGBTQ health specialists and topics right here to Iowa City.

Whether you would like to join the LGBT+ Advocates Executive Council, participate as a member, or just come by and say hello at one of our booths, the LGBT+ Advocates welcome you to campus and would love to meet you! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or the Student Org website. · LGBTQ Health in Iowa: Results from a Statewide Survey Report: https://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/LGBTQ-Health-in-Iowa-Summary.pdf

· Facebook: LGBT+ Advocates for Public Health Equity https://www.facebook.com/uiowaadvocates/ · Twitter: @LGBTAdvocates https://twitter.com/LGBTAdvocates

· Student Org: Search LGBT Advocates for Public Health Equity on https://uiowa.campuslabs.com/engage/