LGBT Health Week, new Health Initiative site

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In addition to getting your HIV tests and/or mammograms for National LGBT Health Week, it’s also a good time check out Atlanta’s spanking new, all-LGBT-inclusive Health Initiative website unveiled Tuesday and get the scoop on two of the group’s signature events.

“With our expansion to provide services to the statewide LGBTQ community, it was imperative that the Health Initiative experience be as user friendly as possible,” Executive Director Linda Ellis says in a prepared statement. “We know that any type of obstacle discourages people from accessing health care, including general health and wellness information. The new website creates easier access to Health Initiative services for community members and for health service providers.”

The national LGBT Health Story Blog launched Tuesday as part of the 10th annual LGBT Health Week, this year with the theme “Come Out For Health.” The national event only lasts through March 30, but the Health Intitiative has your back in Atlanta all year.

The organization started in 1996 as the Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative, turned into the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative, and now has broadened its focus to include the overall health of gay men, transgender people, bisexuals and everyone who identifies as queer. The new website includes a Find Your Provider search to help you locate doctors and caregivers who understand the specific needs of LGBT patients.

On Tuesday, the Health Initiative announced its Spring Health Fair on April 28 at the Rush Center, and the date for the highly anticipated annual Garden Party (top photo). The 2012 fundraising fandango takes place Sept. 16 at Einsteins. Check out photos from last year’s Garden Party.

“While we are still in the process of scheduling events for the entire year, we are very excited to announce these two signature events that bring the community together under the umbrella of health and wellness,” Ellis says in the announcement.

The group also offers demographic-specific support groups and programming, provides LGBT Competency Training for medical professionals, and manages the Health Fund for under- and uninsured LGBT Georgians. To top it all off, the Health Initiative is home base for the dinners and mixers of Atlanta’s venerable lesbian social group, Fourth Tuesday.

In January, Pride Executive Director James Parker Sheffield resigned to become the Health Initiative’s new organizational development director.

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