PROMO’s Health Initiatives In Missouri
In an effort to provide a solution to the ever-growing health disparities faced by LGBT Missourians, PROMO’s journey into the field of health equity started in 2010. Included in their Health Equity Series, the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) published “Responding to LGBT Health Disparities” in 2012. MFH analyzed what little information was available on the health and wellness of the LGBT population in Missouri. Partnering with Missouri Foundation for Health, PROMO Fund tackles health disparities of LGBT Missourians in every aspect of our approach: through nondiscrimination, trainings and technical assistance, older adult support, community education, and more.
When we started this initiative, Missouri ranked 37th on the HRC equality index. PROMO’s mission evolved to include health equity work in every part of our organization. We see health access as one of our number one priorities. By 2017, Missouri ranked second in the Midwest and tied for 7th in the nation on the HRC equality index score for health.
In 2016, PROMO conducted the largest questionnaire surveying the needs of LGBT Missourians in the history of the state. With funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Show Me YOU: Health and Wellness Questionnaire surveyed more than 3,375 LGBT Missourians. We were overwhelmed by the response, and the full results of Show Me You are coming soon. Email us to receive the statistics in your inbox.
To further our research, PROMO conducted focus groups in nine cities and towns across the state in the spring of 2017. We asked LGBT Missourians to share their stories and experiences with us so that we could further learn how we can support existing efforts in their area and lend support. We learned that some communities are well-connected to the LGBT-affirming resources in their town, while others remained unaware if LGBT resources even existed in their community. LGBT people are living in fear in Missouri due to stigma and lack of legal protections. This stigma and the disconnect between people and supportive services (or the lack of supportive services overall) significantly impacts the health of our community, and we must continue to take steps to change that.