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Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez Announces Increased Outreach to the LGBTQ Community

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Jannette Rondó, 518-457-8299
jannetterondó@oasas.ny.gov
www.oasas.ny.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2013

Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez Announces Increased Outreach to the LGBTQ Community

June is LGBTQ Pride month

In recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, OASAS has increased its outreach efforts to become more LGBTQ culturally competent. OASAS is sponsoring numerous training events in June to take part in the celebration, and to raise awareness about the impact of substance abuse on the LGBTQ community.

“In keeping with OASAS’s mission to care for everyone in need of addiction services, we must ensure that our services are culturally competent and able to address the specific needs of all populations, including the LGBTQ community,” said Commissioner González-Sánchez.

The Joint Commission which accredits healthcare organizations in the United States and the Institute of Medicine have both prioritized LGBTQ data collection efforts on a national level and OASAS is in the process of updating its Client Data System to include fields for sexual orientation and gender identity. The OASAS LGBTQ Workgroup has been working to increase treatment system provider participation in the OASAS data collection efforts for over a year.

In conjunction with Pride Month, OASAS hosted a two-day in-person regional training in New York City on June 5 and 6. The agency has already held two other LGBTQ trainings this year. The New York City training focused on the most current data on health disparities. This training had the additional virtue of satisfying the continuing education requirements for credentialed substance use disorder treatment professionals.

In June, OASAS will be releasing a Learning Thursday Webcast titled, “Improving Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services for LGBTQ People and Families,” featuring Antonio Ruberto, Director of Adult Services at the LGBTQ Center in New York City, and Jonathan Lang, Director of Community Projects at the Empire State Pride Agenda. To register for the webcast, visit the OASAS website at www.oasas.ny.gov.

“June is Pride Month and here at the New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center we’re also celebrating our 30th anniversary, plus the 5th anniversary of Center Recovery, the only OASAS-licensed program in New York State designed specifically for LGBT individuals,” said Antonio Ruberto, Jr., Director of Adult Services at the Center. “It’s incredible to think back on all of the people who walked through our doors looking for help, and even more gratifying to see where many of them are now – living happy, healthy and sober lives.”

"The Empire State Pride Agenda is proud to be a member of the OASAS LGBT Workgroup and work alongside dedicated staff and service providers to create a climate that is more responsive to LGBT consumers,” says Jonathan Lang, from the Empire State Pride Agenda. “We appreciate the leadership that OASAS has provided on cultural competency trainings and data collection and look forward to continue working with the Commissioner and her team to address the unique needs of LGBT New Yorkers."

And for all New Yorkers struggling with an addiction—or whose loved ones are struggling—help and hope are available. The State's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY, is staffed by trained clinicians who are ready to answer questions, offer treatment referrals, and provide other vital resources to facilitate that first step into recovery.

OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services systems dedicated to Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, with nearly 1,600 programs serving over 100,000 New Yorkers on any given day.

For more information, please visit www.oasas.ny.gov.

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