UCSF Convenes National Advisory Council in Lesbian Health

June 24, 2008
News Office: Kristen Bole (415) 502-6397

The UCSF Lesbian Health and Research Center is launching a national think tank to tackle issues of social justice from a health perspective.

The LHRC National Advisory Council, which will host its inaugural meeting on Saturday, June 28, in San Francisco, will bring together leaders from diverse disciplines to identify key issues in health disparities and leverage their respective positions to effect social change.

The 80 members of the founding council include such notables as Evelynn Hammonds, dean of Harvard College; Sandra Hernandez, chief executive officer of the San Francisco Foundation; Cathy Cohen, director, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago; and Catherine Dodd, deputy chief of staff for the Office of the Mayor, City of San Francisco.

"This is a gathering of tremendous talent to address important issues for lesbian health and wellbeing," said Dr. Nancy Milliken, vice dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and director of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health. "The LHRC is bringing together some of the greatest minds and hearts together at a very large table."

Council members have been selected for their unique and extraordinary contributions in many fields, as well as their passion for equality, according to LHRC Executive Director Diane Sabin. For some, this includes an exceptional focus on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, she said. That selection process reflects the broader themes the think tank proposes to address:

~ Facilitating and developing national efforts in Lesbian Health research as well as LGBT inclusion in health disparities research

~ Engaging with community organizations to develop collaborative, culturally-sensitive health programs that will address local needs as well as serving as templates for national issues

~ Ensuring that all health care providers and students are trained with state-of-the-art, culturally competent curriculum for the diverse communities of California

~ Reinvigorating a lesbian health movement

~ Informing and guiding national, state, and local public health policy

The council will meet annually, with quarterly web-based exchanges among specific working groups. Participants also will contribute their vision and guidance on key national projects through the LHRC.

"The council is truly an amazing assembly," said Kathleen Dracup, dean of the UCSF School of Nursing. "That reflects, in part, the strength of the early collaborative leadership of Drs. Suzanne Dibble and Patricia Robertson from the Schools of Nursing and Medicine."

Founded in 1999, the nationally renowned Lesbian Health and Research Center is a joint effort through the UCSF schools of Nursing and Medicine, led by co-directors Zina Mirsky, and Dr. Ellen Haller. Through the formation of this national advisory council, LHRC is moving its collaborative work outside UCSF.

The University of California, San Francisco, is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

For names of local task force members, please email Kristen Bole at kbole@pubaff.ucsf.edu.

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