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LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence Launched at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

New Center will serve to advance health equity for LGBTQ communities

BOSTON, June 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute announces the launch of the LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence to advance health equity for LGBTQ communities. In partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this first-of-its-kind center will leverage the distinctive research and teaching capabilities that both institutions are renowned for. 

The Center will be led by Brittany Charlton, Harvard Medical School associate professor of population medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and associate professor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard Chan School. A leading scholar documenting reproductive health and cancer disparities affecting LGBTQ communities, Dr. Charlton sought to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable home for LGBTQ health.

"One in ten people in the U.S. are LGBTQ, and this population will grow, as that number is twice as high among young people. LGBTQ people experience widespread discrimination resulting in adverse physical and mental health," says Dr. Charlton. "As leaders in public health and medicine, we have both the responsibility and the opportunity to drive real change."

Working with partners across Harvard and around the world, the Center will focus on training to prepare the next generation of LGBTQ health leaders, research to expand the evidence base of LGBTQ health, and dissemination to inform policymakers, health care providers, and the larger public about how to improve LGBTQ health most effectively. 

"This Pride Month, I'm thrilled to be celebrating the launch of the LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute," said Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey. "It is so important that we understand the unique health needs of the LGBTQ+ community and that we are training the next generation of LGBTQ+ health care leaders who will spearhead new innovations and lifesaving treatments."

"Public health is key to addressing inequities in LGBTQ health, but the field lacks infrastructure to prepare learners to have the necessary skills to protect the health of this marginalized population and to be leaders in the field," adds Dr. Charlton. "We have a clear vision of how our Center will train the next generation of leaders not only to continue to document that inequities exist but also to design interventions and advocate for policy changes that tangibly improve the lives of LGBTQ people."

The Center has planned several initiatives for its inaugural year, including:

"The Institute is distinctive for aligning researchers and resources to optimize health care policy, care delivery, and outcomes. The LGBTQ Health Center of Excellence stands poised to create the change needed to right the inequities that face this population," says Emily Oken, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School professor and chair of the department of population medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. "Dr. Charlton has assembled what you might call a 'dream team' of researchers across both institutions for this purpose."

In addition to Charlton, inaugural Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute faculty members include Douglas Krakower, Julia Marcus, Alon Peltz, and Jessica Young. Center faculty from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health include Jarvis Chen, Christy Denckla, Heather Eliassen,  Sebastian Haneuse, Maggie McConnell, Alecia McGregor, Shoba Ramanadhan, Deepali Ravel, and Natalie Slopen.

"Harvard Chan School's core mission is to improve health and promote equity so all people can thrive. This new Center of Excellence will advance that mission by training the next generation of public health leaders to research disparities in LGBTQ health and then translate their findings into policies, programs, and clinical care designed to address those inequities," added Andrea Baccarelli, dean of the faculty at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Official launch event planned for June 4 from 4pm ? 7pm
The Center officially launches with an inclusive, family-friendly Pride 2024 and Launch event on Tuesday, June 4 from 4-7pm on the first floor of Harvard Chan School. Speakers will include leadership from both partner institutions (Harvard Chan School Dean of the Faculty, Andrea Baccarelli; Harvard Chan School Dean for Academic Affairs, Jane Kim; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute President Emily Oken). The Director of the NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office, Karen Parker, will also speak, among others, before a fireside chat between Brittany Charlton and Alex Spinelli, Engagement Editor at STAT. Talks will be followed by a reception including story time with Patty Bourrée, the Boston Chapter Director of Drag Queen Story Hour.

About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute's Department of Population Medicine is a unique collaboration between Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Medical School. Created in 1992, it is the first appointing medical school department in the United States based in a health plan. The Institute focuses on improving health care delivery and population health through innovative research and education, in partnership with health plans, delivery systems, and public health agencies. Point32Health is the parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan. Follow us on X and LinkedIn.

About Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people's lives?not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America's oldest professional training program in public health.

SOURCE Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

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