Working to end LGBTQ health disparities in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Black Pride RVA was held the weekend of July 18th-21st. The goal for the weekend of events was to educate, embrace and celebrate the unique lived experiences of the black LGBTQ community of greater Richmond, Virginia and across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The AHA is increasing our outreach and engagement with the LGBTQ community to support improving overall health and address the social determinants of health. Overall, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults smoke at rates up to 2.5 times higher than straight adults. We are working together with the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) to support the implementation of their Free from Tobacco Cessation Program as a result of the $600,000 in new funding secured through our advocacy to help people quit and stay quit.

Richmond and Virginia Beach American Heart Association staff, volunteers, and RCHD participated in the Day of Purpose. The event which was a family-friendly event that brought together vendors and non-profit organizations to offer free services and information around health, financial security and overall wellness.

At our booth, volunteer nurse Camille Richards offered free blood pressure screenings and hands-only CPR training to participants. “Sexual and racial minorities face significant discrimination and marginalization in the United States. Chronic stress, increased tobacco and substance abuse may be factors in addition race and gender, that contribute to increased heart and brain health disparities in this population,” says Richards, clinical nurse research coordinator at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. “It’s important to raise awareness about blood pressure control, medication adherence, sodium and stress reduction along with hands-only CPR training to this vulnerable population.”

Working to end LGBTQ health disparities in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney learns how to save a life from volunteer nurse Camille Richards of Virginia Beach, Virginia

Working to end LGBTQ health disparities in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Richmond and Virginia Beach volunteers join together to help raise awareness about heart and brain health disparities in the black LGBTQ community.