Washington Health Alliance Holds Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Event


Film screening and panel discussion focus on improving behavioral health for the LGBTQ+ community

SEATTLE, WA — This Pride Month, the Washington Health Alliance’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative is presenting a free director’s cut of the documentary Between the Shades and panel discussion to raise awareness of the inequities in behavioral health care for the LGBTQ+ community. Joining the event on June 25th, the day before the Seattle Pride Parade, will be film Director Jill Salvino and moderator Mercer Principal Michael Garrett. The event at 12:30 pm PDT at the SIFF Egyptian Theater on Capitol Hill in Seattle is open to the public. Registration is required for both in-person and remote attendance.

Stigma and discrimination are among the reasons the LGBTQ+ community faces significant challenges in accessing behavioral health care resulting in LGBTQ+ individuals being three times more likely to avoid health and mental health care. In the last year, 45% of the LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth. For those who sought counseling from a mental health professional, 48% of the LGBTQ+ youth were unable to access services. Lower rates of attempting suicide were reported by LGBTQ+ youth who were able to access services that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Alliance Executive Director Nancy Giunto says, “It’s time to stop looking at the numbers and take action for the thousands of Washington residents who are not getting their behavioral health needs met. This event is about bringing people together, first to understand the disparity and inequity in the health care system from those who have experienced it first-hand, and then to talk about how we can change it.”

Excerpts of the film will be interspersed with opportunities for the audience and panel to address the steps health plans, employers, physicians and other health care professionals can take to improve the equity of the behavioral health system. Panel participants include:

  • Brian C. Armbrust (he/they), MA, MM, Sound Health Director of Administration
  • Liz Landry (she/her), MSW, MHP, LSWAIC, Optimism Counseling Therapist
  • Tom Parsons (he/him), MSW, LICSW, Optimism Counseling Founder
  • Patrick J. Raue (he/him), PhD, University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Professor

In Between the Shades, Director Salvino talks to people of all genders, colors, and sexual orientations “to illuminate what the LGBTQ+ spectrum truly looks and feels like.” Many of the speakers are courageous in sharing their challenges, including homelessness, depression and suicide. Conversely, there are also stories of empowerment, love, and coming out, both bitter and sweet. Salvino describes the film as “a deep dive into how we label a life, define ourselves, and others.” The complete film will be available for viewing by attendees for two weeks following the event.

Addressing the Behavioral Health Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community is sponsored by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, with additional support from Aetna, City of Seattle, Community Health Plan of Washington, Kaiser Permanente Washington, Milliman MedInsight, Neighborcare Health,Optum, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, and Washington State Health Care Authority.

About the Washington Health Alliance’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiative is sponsored by the Washington Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization working collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together more than 185 committed member organizations to improve health equity and health care by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by health care professionals, health plans, purchasers, and other health care partners who are committed to the Alliance’s mission and vision.

The Alliance is committed to becoming an inclusive and anti-racist organization. We pledge to create an environment where all employees and members, regardless of skin color, culture, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, ability or age, feel valued and have opportunities for growth. We commit to identify, discuss, expose and challenge inequities, including structural racism, in healthcare systems across Washington.

The Alliance believes in transparency and publishes its reports on health care quality, value pricing, and overall spending to help achieve a more equitable health care system. The Alliance publishes its reports at www.WACommunityCheckup.org and provides guidance for consumers at www.OwnYourHealthWA.org so that individuals can make informed health care decisions.


nullDate: June 9, 2022
Contact: Denise Giambalvo
Phone: 206.454.2958
Email: dgiambalvo@wahealthalliance.org

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