The Wolf Administration, in partnership with LGBTQ aging advocates and stakeholders, hosted Pennsylvania's inaugural LGBTQ Aging Summit.
Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne kicked off the summit and introduced day one's keynote speaker, The Honorable Kathy Greenlee, Vice President of Aging & Health Policy, Center for Practical Bioethics and former Assistant Secretary of Aging, U.S. Department of Human Health & Services. Ms. Greenlee traveled from Kansas to attend the inaugural summit, and shared experiences and obstacles regarding her sexuality from high school to present day, presented on the urgency for provider networks to be LGBTQ-friendly, and discussed the barriers that many LGBTQ elders face.
Day one of the summit also featured a community panel discussion with LGBTQ older adults, moderated by Carol Harris of Dering Consulting Group, which allowed the panelists to share their lived experiences and highlight the various difficulties many experience as older LGBTQ individuals.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine opened day two and introduced the keynote speaker, Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, who spoke to the audience regarding LGBTQ cultural competency and inclusion. After Adams' remarks the summit hosted a provider panel on best practices for serving LGBTQ older adults and the importance of being culturally competent within provider networks, featuring:
- Dr. Imani Woody, Founding Director & CEO, Mary's House for Older Adults
- Rabbi Erica Steelman, Director of LGBT+ Initiatives & Staff Chaplain, Abramson Center for Jewish Life
- Doreen Hespell, Director, Montgomery County Area Agency on Aging
- Linda Marucci, Social Worker, Southwest Senior Center
- Arthur Breese, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Geisinger
At the conclusion of the provider panel, the summit organized a regional planning session with a focus on tangible community action for the varying regions of summit attendees, specifically regarding how Pennsylvania can build better connections between the older LGBTQ community and providers. After lunch, which featured speaker Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, National LGBT Liaison for AARP, the regional planning groups reported out their recommendations and findings from the earlier planning session.
The summit concluded with a state panel, featuring:
- Teresa Osborne, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Aging
- Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Todd Snovel, Executive Director, Pennsylvania's Commission on LGBTQ Affairs
Panelists shared insight on the Wolf Administration's efforts to improve LGBTQ inclusiveness, provided feedback on the suggestions from the regional planning session, and took questions from attendees.
To plan for the summit, the department partnered with numerous LGTBQ and aging stakeholders including, LGBT Elder Initiative, SAGE, the PA Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the PA Department of Health, AARP Pennsylvania, PERSAD Center, Trans Central PA, PA Homecare Association, Action Wellness, Alzheimer's Association, Hospice of Central PA, William Way LGBT Community Center, LGBT Center of Central PA, SEIU Healthcare PA, CARIE, and more.