Kent State CPH Led Ohio's First Holistic LGBTQ+ Specific Community Needs Assessment
The Results Are In! Launch Event Brought Together the Region’s Leadership to Address Health Disparities in the LGBTQ+ Community
Nearly 200 guests attended The Results Are In! event, held Thursday, August 18, 2022, at the Akron Art Museum. Nine panelists from seven domains of holistic health shared their reactions and suggested next steps to address areas of unmet needs identified through the community-based participatory research process, as well as strengths and achievements the community has to leverage in addressing these needs.
The needs assessment was spearheaded by Andrew M. Snyder, BSN, MPH, outreach program director for the College of Public Health at Kent State University.
"It is exciting to see leaders from the many interdisciplinary sectors that make up the local public health system come together to learn more about the results of the assessment and the steps we can all take to make a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ people,” said Snyder.
According to Snyder, 1,002 unique survey responses were recorded during the survey administration period, painting a rich picture of the current status of Greater Akron’s LGBTQ+ community. “Although the assessment is complete, we must move swiftly from assessment to action to ensure this compilation of community input is utilized to its full potential,” continued Snyder.
The goals of the assessment were to:
- Increase awareness about public health as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community in Greater Akron.
- Lean into the local LGBTQ+ population demographically as the LGBTQ+ community is currently unassessed by the US Census, leaving us to rely on estimates.
- Describe the status of the local LGBTQ+ community holistically; not just focusing on weaknesses and unmet needs but also identifying strengths and achievements.
- Develop a set of community recommendations based on participant input that inform future investments and decision-making for the local LGBTQ+ community.
- Strengthen partnerships and inter-organization collaborations within the local public health system.
Sponsors for this important project include:
- The Brennan Family Foundation
- County of Summit, Ilene Shapiro, County Executive
- Kent State University College of Public Health
- Akron Community Foundation
- Gay Endowment Fund at Akron Community Foundation
- City of Akron
- Cleveland Clinic Akron General
- Summit County Public Health
- Summa Health
- Akron Pride Festival
- The Read Family
- Akron Art Museum
- Shane Wynn Photography
- Planned Parenthood
- Akron Children’s Hospital
- Physical Health and Wellness – Dr. Scott Hamler, Summa Pride Clinic
- Religion and Spirituality – Anissa Glaser-Bacon, New Vision United Church of Christ
- Education and Literacy – N.J. Akbar, PhD Akron Public Schools Board of Education
- Housing, Food, and Nutrition – Mar-quetta Boddie, Summit County Continuum of Care
- Business, Employment, and Commerce – Matthew Weiderhold, Heritage Ohio
- Safety and Law Enforcement – Gert Wilms, City of Akron Chief of Staff
- Recreation and Leisure – Jim Mahon, Akron | Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Community Resources – Rebecca Callahan, CANAPI
- Allyship - Natalia Maikranz, Kent State University: College of Pubilc Health
The work in Greater Akron has led to interest from both Greater Cleveland and Greater Youngstown. Efforts are now underway to expand and adapt the LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment process in Greater Cleveland, focusing on Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake and Geauga counties, following a $150,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation. Leaders and stakeholders are also mobilizing a steering committee to expand the work to the Greater Youngstown area focusing on Trumbull, Mahoning, Ashtabula, and Columbiana counties.
"Expanding this work into Greater Cleveland and the Greater Youngstown will give us the opportunity to collect grassroots health data across 12 Northeast Ohio counties impacting not only local LGBTQ+ communities but helping to build a regional LGBTQ+ public health infrastructure, which is currently lacking,” continued Snyder.
"Congratulations to Andrew Snyder and the many members of the steering committee, volunteers and community members who came together to help this project find success. We are excited about the positive change this work is creating for the LGBTQ+ people living in northeastern Ohio,” said Sonia Alemagno, dean of the College of Public Health.
To learn more about the assessment and request a copy of the data, please visit www.lgbtqohio.org.
Kent State University College of Public Health Dean Sonia Alemango, and Andrew Snyder.
Large group panelist photo:
Top left to right - Dr Scott Hamler, Rev. Anissa Glaser-Bacon, Natalia Maikranz, Gert Wilms, Rebecca Callahan
Bottom left to right - Mar-Quetta Boddie, Dr. NJ Akbar, Andrew Snyder, Jim Mahon, Matthew Twinning-Weiderhold