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Black LGBT Health and Wellness Initiative Anchored By Elton John AIDS Foundation

Leading civil rights organization expands role to address healthcare disparities

Photo of Sharon J. Lettman Hicks of

Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Black Justice Coalition

With the anchor funding of support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the National Black Justice Coalition created the Black LGBT Health and Wellness Initiative to address current health crises and disparities in culturally competent wellness programs that target the black LGBT population.

Launched last December, the initiative aims to intentionally place attention on black LGBT health and wellness and to ensure that these issues become part of the national LGBT-equality agenda. Based out Washington, DC, the NBJC is the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

During this year’s 6th Annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit (#OOTH2015), the NBJC intentionally focused on uplifting the needs of the Black LGBT, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) community to focus on where “they” fit in the key national dialogues: the impact of the Affordable Care Act; the advances made in LGBT-equality; and the new social movement #BlackLivesMatter. The group is still energized from this experience and has been busy incorporating the outcomes into NBJC’s programmatic priorities to better serve its constituency.

As such, NBJC is proud to announce the expansion of its Black LGBT Health and Wellness Initiative with the creation of a new leadership role—Program Officer for LGBT Health and Wellness Initiatives. Venton C. Jones Jr., MSHCAD, NBJC’s former Events and Operations Manager, will take on this new role to foster and expand the health and wellness sector as an institutional priority for the organization. As the Program Officer for LGBT Health and Wellness Initiatives, Venton will lead NBJC’s advocacy and programmatic efforts to improve the overall health and wellness of the black LGBT, queer and same gender loving population in our nation.

“I am delighted that Venton will continue his tenure at NBJC in this new role, which is a top priority for our organization,” notes Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Venton was a critical voice in the development of this portfolio. Institutionally, we are prepared to address the unequal and unequitable conditions that black communities have historically endured in the health care sector of society. In addressing the health and wellness of the Black LGBT population—including the HIV epidemic—NBJC will bring voice and take action to ensure that our constituents are recognized and receive culturally competent care. I am confident that Venton will do a phenomenal job in leading our efforts.”