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Ottawa Health Task Group Completes Funding Application Phase
Prepares for Project Launch

THE Ottawa-Carleton LGBT Health Task Group submitted applications for funding today totaling $90,000 to the provincial and federal governments, complementing one for $35,000 to the Region last week, as the culmination of ten months of volunteer efforts by over 40 individuals to address the quality of local health and human service delivery to GLBT people.

The application document, entitled Working Towards Increasing GLBT Wellness - A Community Challenge, serves as a proposal for a project to both conduct a health/wellness needs assessment of the GLBT community and map available resources in the region.

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The goals of the project, as described in the proposal, are to:

  • Reduce barriers to health care and prevention services,
  • Develop an awareness of GLBT health/wellness issues,
  • Enhance and sustain wellness resources for GLBT people throughout the region, and
  • Prevent illness and promote health/wellness.

The Task Group proposes to accomplish these through creating partnerships between local health and human service agencies and the GLBT Community.

The proposed activity for the project is "[A bilingual] assessment of what services need to be improved with recommendations of how to make improvements."  Implicit to this will be an inventory, or mapping, of health and human services currently available to the GLBT population in the Greater Ottawa Area.  The results of this mapping will be compiled into a bilingual directory or handbook to be made widely available to both service consumers and providers.  The duration of the project is to be one year.

I know that there will be some sort of Needs Assessment done.
-Bruce Bursey
A decision regarding the funding application to the Region's "Project Grants for Health and Social Services," based on a recommendation from a committee of (greater Ottawa) community agency representatives, is expected in January.  Although the Task Group will be competing against other organizations for funding, Co-Chair Bruce Bursey told gayottawanow.com that he believes the proposed project is consistent with the committee's criteria.  "Gay and lesbian organizations have received funding from them in the past," he added.

An answer from Ontario's Trillium Foundation, which distributes moneys obtained from the province's gambling and lottery operations to community development programs, is expected in March.  A similar timeline exists with the federal government's Millennium Fund, which is financing community-based celebrations of that event.  The Task Group applied to the "Innovative Ways to Improve Lives" category of the Fund.

"I know that there will be some sort of Needs Assessment done," continued Mr. Bursey.  "There's that amount of commitment ... A core group of 15-18 [volunteers] have stuck with the process [and] reception has been so supportive.  The level of the Needs Assessment will not be limited by people's commitment but by the amount of money [with which] to do it."

Membership in the Group includes local health and human services providers and representatives of GLBT organizations.  A 'Kick-Off' workshop is scheduled for March.
The Task Group was struck in January 1999 subsequent to the local GLBT community becoming aware of publicized research in the subject area, including Health Concerns of the GLBT Community, a study funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (www.glbthealth.org/index4a.html).  Results of this research suggested absent or under-utilization of health and human services by GLBT people and that certain treatment programs were having reduced or no effectiveness with this population.  The research also highlighted some alarming statistics obtained in its review of literature, including "Gay and lesbian youth make up 30% of all youth suicides" (Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1989) as well as issues such as the "foregoing of routine gynaecological care (by lesbian women), including PAP smears and mammograms" (Report on Lesbian Health, unpublished manuscript, Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts, 1995).

"This information, however, must be validated and contextualized for GLBT people in Ottawa-Carleton," the Task Group's proposal states.

Membership in the Group includes local health and human services providers and representatives of GLBT organizations.  The first meeting was convened by Ottawa-Carleton Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman.  The Task Group is sponsored by Pink Triangle Services.

The next step for the Group is to prepare to receive the money and begin the project, explained Mr. Bursey.  "[We have to] transform from an informal consultative dialogue-natured organization into a formalized one with specific roles and commitments ... to broaden the Group's composition and formal structure to include a core management and committee function and a larger advisory group function ... to 'crank up the machinery' to get groups involved and the participation of individuals [in the project itself]."  A "Kick-Off" workshop is scheduled for March.

Further information describing the Ottawa-Carleton GLBT Health Task Group may be obtained by visiting www.onelist.com/community/glbthealth or contacting Co-Chair Bruce Bursey at bwbursey@yahoo.com or (613) 231-5738.