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City announces new LGBT health council
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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Sixteen community leaders will guide the city's push to improve LGBT health in Chicago this year.

The Chicago Department of Public Health announced a new LGBT Health Advisory Council March 29.

The 16-member council will oversee the city's work on the LGBT Health Action Plan, a component of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Healthy Chicago" plan (coverage on that report can be viewed at: ).

The council is tasked with working towards 22 goals in the LGBT health plan, including tackling violence against transgender people, cutting down on smoking in the community, lowering HIV rates and improving LGBT cultural competency in medical care.

"I'm really excited that we're focusing on LGBT health issues," said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair "We want Chicago to be a hub for LGBT health innovation, and having this team is going to help make that a reality."

The list of appointed council members includes veteran advocates like Center on Halsted CEO Modesto Valle and newer advocates like Owen Daniel-McCarter, attorney and founder of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois.

Also on the council is Hope Barrett, deputy director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.

"I'm pretty excited about the opportunity," Barrett said. "I think it's really interesting the group that they pulled together. It seems to be a fairly diverse group. I'm really excited that the trans community is represented, Black folks are represented, Asian folks...I hope those diverse voices can really help to impact communities that have been marginalized."

In addition to the LGBT health plan goals, the council will faces the challenge of finding a new director of LGBT Health, a CDPH position that has been vacant for nearly three years now. The prolonged vacancy has caused some to speculate that the Office of LGBT Health would face cuts. Choucair has said that an initial candidate search failed to produce a qualified hire.

Now, the new council is tasked with helping to fill that position.

"The position is still in our budget, and we still intend to fill it," Choucair said.

The announcement of the council was timed to coincide with National LGBT Health Awareness Week, according to a CDPH news release. That release goes on to note that council members will serve one to two-year terms, with the option to fill a second term.

More than 40 applicants applied to be on the council. A list of the appointed council members is provided below:

Gloria Allen — LGBT Senior Activist and Volunteer, Center on Halsted

Hope Barrett, MPH — Deputy Director, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children; Board Member, LGBT Aging Issues Network

Romon Buenrostro — Director of Special Projects, AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Owen Daniel-McCarter, Esq. — Practicing Attorney and Founder, Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois

Kelly Ducheny, Psy.D. — Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director, Behavioral Health Services at Howard Brown Health Center

Kim Hunt, MPP — Executive Director, Affinity Community Services; Instructor, Harris School for Public Policy, University of Chicago

Travis Gayles, M.D./Ph.D. — Pediatrician, Clinical Instructor and Research Fellow at the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Anthony Gonzalez — Plus Training Fitness Professional at David Barton Gym

Manuel Hernandez, M.D./MBA — Principal, Cannon Design; Fellow, American College of Emergency Physicians

Poj Lysouvakon, M.D. — Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director, General Care Nursery, University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital

Alicia Matthews, Ph.D. — Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing; research focused on tobacco use in LGBT communities

Brian Mustanski, Ph.D.- Associate Professor and Director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Kevin Osten, Psy.D. — Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Core Faculty and Director, LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center at Adler School of Professional Psychology

Steven Karl Rosemurgy — Senior Business Development Strategist, The Allstate Corporation

Modesto Valle — CEO, Center on Halsted

Serena Worthington — Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity Building, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders)

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