Komen grants big bucks to LGBT Atlanta boobs

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With a hearty “Carpe boobem!” the Health Initiative rides away from this year’s Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta grants with $26,000 in breast health funds on a mission specifically targeted to LGBT patients in Georgia.

Health Initiative, the Atlanta-based agency for statewide LGBT health, has long been a breast-health advocate in gay Atlanta. They of the boobs in a bag (photo) and other boob-riffic promos split more than $1.5 million this year in Komen grants to 17 local organizations. The $26,000 is specifically earmarked for lesbians and transgender men who are often underserved, according to a Komen statement announcing the grants.

Komen Atlanta has expanded its 2015 grant scope to include programs that address critical needs in our community including grants that focus on Metro Atlanta’s LGBT community. The grant of approximately $26,000 awarded to The Health Initiative will fund innovative breast health services through a project aiming to increase the number of LGBT [individuals] in the Komen Atlanta service area accessing breast cancer screenings. By issuing targeted breast health messaging, The Health Initiative will support an underserved, at risk population.

That means that cost-free clinical breast exams and mammograms sponsored by the Health Initiative throughout the year will take place in judgment-free surroundings by culturally competent providers, Linda Ellis, executive director of the Health Initiative tells Project Q.

“We work to ensure that the screeners and clinics we partner with are prepared to be supportive of anyone we send their way, and make sure that some our screening days are trans and masculine exclusive, and are housed with providers with solid experience working with trans health,” Ellis says.

“That way, we remove an extra hurdle of discomfort, and anyone coming can feel more comfortable among people with like experiences,” she adds. “Some folks even choose to ‘buddy up’ and come to the screening with a friend or as a group.”

The Komen money is added to breast-health funds from It’s The Journey, Inc., the producers of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. The Health Initiative program is one of 28 across Georgia sharing more than $800,000 in grants from that organization this year.

“Both Susan G. Komen and It's The Journey have been very supportive of our efforts with the broader LGBT community,” Ellis says.

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