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Department of Aging Receives Award for Its Efforts to Improve Services for LGBTQ Older Adults


PHILADELPHIA, PAThe Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) has received The Founders' Award for LGBTQ Health Equity from the Elder Initiative at William Way LGBT Community Center for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in its outreach and service delivery to LGBTQ older adults. The organization presented the award to Secretary Robert Torres during A Cause for Applause – an annual benefit for the Elder Initiative at William Way on June 9.  

"The Department is honored to be the recipient of the Founders' Award for LGBTQ Health Equity. We are committed to providing supports that are inclusive to all older adults and to ensure older LGBTQ Pennsylvanians are welcomed and treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve," said Secretary Torres. "The Department's partnership with the Elder Initiative at William Way has played a fundamental part in our efforts and we look forward to continuing our good work with them and other organizations serving and advocating for the LGBTQ community across the commonwealth, in order to provide supportive, quality, and affirming services for older LGBTQ adults."  

PDA has completed several projects and goals to support and benefit LGBTQ older adults. These efforts have included the following: 

  • Convened, in 2018, the first statewide Pennsylvania LGBTQ Aging Summit that brought together nearly 330 participants from across the commonwealth. 
  • Achieved, in 2019, SAGECare Platinum Certification for LGBT cultural competency and was the first State Unit on Aging to attain this certification from SAGE, the largest advocacy organization in the nation for older LGBT adults.
  • Held, in 2020, a town hall with the LGBTQ community seeking their input and recommendations for the development of a new 4-year State Plan on Aging and incorporated many of their suggestions into the current federally approved state plan. 
  • Issued, in 2021, a policy directive that designated LGBTQ older adults as a community of greatest social need, which requires targeted outreach and programming to ensure equity of services to the LGBTQ older adult community. 
  • Initiated, in 2021, the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data to help guide planning, programming, and outreach for the LGBTQ older adult community.   
  • Initiated, in 2021, the Positive Self-Management Program, the first statewide, evidence-based health and wellness program for individuals living with HIV and AIDS.  

"The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is leading the way in making the commonwealth a welcoming place for LGBTQ people to grow older. Under the leadership of Secretary Torres, the department has become a nationally recognized example of how state agencies can become more responsive to the unique needs facing LGBTQ older adults," said Chris Bartlett, executive director of the Elder Initiative at William Way. "We were thrilled to honor the department for its contributions and thank Secretary Torres and the department for its continuing partnership." 

Learn more about the programs and services offered by the Department of Aging by visiting the department's website and on the department's Facebook page

MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, Aging:

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