Home Blog Instructor Leads LGBTQ+ Community Public Health Research

Instructor Leads LGBTQ+ Community Public Health Research

May 01, 2023

More than 60,000 Cleveland residents identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.1 To better understand these residents’ needs, the Kent State University College of Public Health (CPH) launched the Greater Cleveland LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment project in March. The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland serves as the primary community partner, with the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation and the Mt. Sinai Health Foundation providing financial support.

“The College of Public Health has always been deeply committed to responding to the needs of our community, employers and students,” CPH Dean Sonia Alemagno said. “I am deeply grateful to Andrew M. Snyder, principal investigator for the Greater Cleveland LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment and CPH program outreach director, and to the Cleveland Foundation for its support of this important initiative that will involve over 100 community organizations.”

Research Goal and Study Timeline

Snyder, who is also a CPH adjunct instructor, and his team will collect data for the mixed-method study through the summer. They expect to complete the assessment in December 2024.

The assessment seeks to pinpoint deficiencies in community services and resources and identify future interventions and investments that can improve the overall health of the LGBTQ+ community.

Stakeholders within and outside the healthcare sector can use the assessment results to develop and deliver culturally competent services that address the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

A Holistic Look at Community Services

Residents of Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain and Geauga counties will be included in the project, which will explore several critical areas, including:

  • Health and wellness
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Education and literacy
  • Housing
  • Food and basic needs
  • Business and commerce
  • Safety and law enforcement
  • Recreation and leisure

A Participatory Research Design

The study team encourages members of the Greater Cleveland LGBTQ+ community to participate in the subcommittee meetings to develop surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Read more about the project design and how to participate in the process.

Phyllis Harris, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, stressed that project managers are “committed to ensuring that the needs assessment process is inclusive and reflective of the diverse voices and perspectives within the LGBTQ+ community.”2

The project’s community-based participatory research design helped win the support of the Cleveland Foundation. Andrew Katusin, Cleveland Foundation program officer for grantmaking initiatives, said. “As the community’s foundation, we believe that understanding the needs of the community, directly informed by the community, is the best source of expertise to guide how we can provide support where it is needed most.”2

A Regional Public Health Resource

The Cleveland Assessment project is an adaptation and continuation of a study Kent State’s CPH led in the Akron area in 2022. Snyder and his team also plan to continue the work with a community needs assessment project in the greater Youngstown area, including Trumbull, Mahoning, Ashtabula, and Columbiana counties.

Snyder said, "Expanding this work into Greater Youngstown will give us the opportunity to collect grassroots health data across 12 Northeast Ohio counties, impacting not only local LGBTQ+ communities but helping to build a regional LGBTQ+ public health infrastructure, which is currently lacking."

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The Greater Cleveland LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment illustrates the impact you can have as a public health practitioner. Prepare to design and lead public health initiatives in your community with Kent State University's online Master of Public Health. The program's core courses provide a well-rounded survey of foundational subjects and opportunities for applied and integrative learning. You can focus your degree with a specialization in Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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