Ten years ago this week, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Today we are joined by 17 states plus DC in acknowledging and codifying the right to marriage equality under the law. It was a historic moment for the Commonwealth and a groundbreaking achievement for our nation in the advancement of equal rights for gay, lesbian and bisexual people everywhere. Since then, thousands of same-sex marriages have been performed in communities across Massachusetts.
Between May 17, 2004 and December 31, 2013, there were 25,739 same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, the march towards full equality for the LGBTQ community continues – and that includes equal access to high-quality health care. At DPH we are renewing our commitment to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for all LGBTQ residents of Massachusetts.
In 2013, the DPH Office of Health Equity expanded its Making Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Happen guide to include advice for health care providers on the appropriate and respectful delivery of services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning community.
Our efforts to reduce health disparities among LGBTQ people are also about looking for ways to ensure that we have the most accurate, complete, and robust data on the health and wellness of this population, and the attitudes that LGBTQ patients have about the care they’re receiving.
While DPH has long gathered data on sexual orientation through various surveillance programs, that data has been collected in different ways and through different formats. While each of these data sets is valuable in its own right, that lack of standardization has made comparisons across data sets difficult.
The Department is currently underway in an exciting new project to catalog and standardize all of our LGBTQ data collection – including the specific language of how survey questions are formulated. Our intent is that by providing clear guidance to researchers and providers on standardized language for LGBTQ health surveys, we can increase the overall LGBTQ response rate – leading to an even larger data set on which to base future programs, services and interventions.
A First-Hand Look at Mosquito Surveillance posted on Jul 28
Each summer, the Department of Public Health works closely with local and regional partners to protect Massachusetts residents against the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) – two serious diseases which are spread though the bite of an infected mosquito. …Continue Reading A First-Hand Look at Mosquito Surveillance
Veterans: Find your Sisterhood in Massachusetts posted on Jul 23
The Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network of the Department of Veterans’ Services (WVN) has been connecting women veterans with benefits, services, and each other, since 1997. Since its founding, the Network has been the central resource for women veterans across the Commonwealth, and continues to connect its members …Continue Reading Veterans: Find your Sisterhood in Massachusetts
Department of Developmental Services: Finding Meaning Through Art posted on Jul 18
Mary DeCesar recently stopped by the DDS central office to donate one of her drawings for our reception area. Mary works at Gateway Arts, a DDS contracted program. While Mary has become an accomplished artist, her life story is just as compelling. Born with an …Continue Reading Department of Developmental Services: Finding Meaning Through Art