195494 Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth: A Model for Using a State Commission for GLBT Public Health Policy and Advocacy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:30 PM

Jason A. Smith, MTS, JD , Division of Medical Humanities, Health Law & Ethics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
Jacob Yang , Massachusetts Asians & Pacific Islanders for Health, Boston, MA
The Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (Commission) was established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006 and currently stands as the only state-created agency devoted to the needs of GLBT youth in the United States. The Commission's mandate is to advise agencies in Massachusetts on policy to improve the health and welfare of GLBT youth and has taken the lead as the primary policy-making body in Massachusetts around GLBT youth issues. To achieve, this, the Commission has strategically developed a public health approach to its work. State commissions devoted to the needs of GLBT youth offer significant opportunities to improve health, particularly in light of government inattention to this underserved population's needs. They can also carry significant political risks and policy development challenges. Community members, public health officials, and others work collaboratively on the Commission to provide a statewide, coordinated and comprehensive GLBT youth public health policy. It also provides a vehicle to advocate for GLBT youth, increase appropriations and improve public health systems. The presentation will discuss some of the key factors necessary to implement the Commission model in other states and will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of the model.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the unique and innovative role of the Commission in Massachusetts. 2. Identify the key factors to consider for establishing and implementing a Commission model in another state. 3. Identify risks and challenges to the Commission model 4. Describe developing a comprehensive and effective public health policy for GLBT youth.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was Chair of the Commission and work closely with the new Chair and my co-author. We both completed the work on the manuscript. Both have experience in public health policy and GLBT youth issues. I am a professor of health law and ethics with a focus on public health law and policy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.