About Us

General Overview, Mission & Goals

The mission of the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative is to reduce disparities experienced by gender and sexually diverse populations by helping health and human services agencies that are a part of the NYS HHS LGBT Network more effectively reach and serve these groups. LGBTQ+ Health will share best-practice, evidence-based interventions designed to help Network agencies build trust with their clients so clients can gain the full benefit of health care resources available to them. Our objectives are:

Objective 1

Assess the capacity of Network member organizations to provide multicultural and culturally responsive services, using needs assessment data, training feedback, and client feedback.

Objective 2

Provide technical assistance and capacity building around leadership development, program development, coordination, health promotion/awareness, and education. We will provide in-person, regional, online live and recorded webinar trainings to accomplish this.

We are based out of the University of Rochester and are funded by the NYSDOH AIDS Institute. For more information on the NYS HHS Network, please visit their website.

Components of LGBT HHS Grant

The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute awarded the New York State LGBT HHS grant for a 5-year grant cycle (2019-2024), which is divided into three components:

Provision of Direct Health and Human Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals, Families and Communities was awarded to 37 organizations around New York State that provide direct service provision to LGBTQ+ communities, including healthcare, housing, legal services, social supports, and more.

Components of the LGBT HHS Grant

Multicultural and Culturally Responsive Organizational Development was awarded to the University of Rochester to support the organizations with technical assistance and capacity building in the areas of:

  • leadership development
  • program development
  • coordination
  • health promotion/awareness
  • education

The LGBTQ+ Health Initiative is building off the work of National LGBT Cancer Network, whose mission is to improve the lives of LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk for cancer through Education, Training, and Advocacy. They received the Component B funding in the previous grant cycle (2013-2018) with which they created an expansive Cultural Competency Curriculum that is now open and available to the public.

Statewide Coordination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Related Organizations Funded through the LGBT Health and Human Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals, Families and Communities and LGBT Health and Human Services Network Members was awarded to the LGBT Center in Manhattan for the administration of the LGBT Network, including advocating for additional funding to the LGBT community, providing communication services and technical assistance and programmatic support to members, as well as organizing in-person retreats, conferences, and advocacy days.

Meet Our Team

Brooke A. Levandowski, Phd, MPABrooke A. Levandowski, PhD, MPA (she/her) is the director of the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. An epidemiologist by training, Brooke’s research seeks to improve stigmatized health outcomes through understanding the influence of culture on health decision making, primarily in the field of reproductive and sexual health. The LGBTQ+ Health Initiative is an excellent opportunity to work within our queer community to improve our health!

Susan B. Miller, MASusan B. Miller, BA, (she/her) is the coordinator of the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative. She joined the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative in the beginning of September of 2019, and is beyond excited to be in a role that allows her to work with many amazing members of the LGBTQ+ community in New York State. This is an amazing opportunity to help improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people. In addition to this job, Susan is currently getting a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester, and has a bachelors in Women’s Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University.

Xiaoxuan (Shawn) ZhangXiaoxuan Zhang, MS (he/him) is a Senior Analyst and Programmer with the Clinical Education Initiative, and provides technical support to the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative. Some of his duties include managing AIRS data entry and reporting, updating the website, and providing customer support for the website.

Chengchen YangChengchen Yang, MS (he/him) is a Junior Programmer with the Clinical Education Initiative, and provides technical support to the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative. Some of his duties include creating RedCap surveys for data collection, including easy-to-use links and QR codes, updating the website, and providing customer support on website use.

Jahron MarriottJahron Marriott, MS (he/him) is an Information Analyst with the Clinical Education Initiative (CEI) and assists the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative by reviewing project materials and providing technical support. Some of his duties for CEI include facilitating monthly ECHO sessions; tele-mentoring sessions via zoom on topics dealing with HIV, Sexual Health, and Drug User Health and uploading and managing ECHO related training materials on the ceitraining.org website.

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

Our CAB is composed of 15+ members of our LGBTQ+ community located in Rochester, NY. The CAB meets about 6 times/year to provide their perspective as stakeholders on surveys and trainings that may be offered to Network organizations. We provide a gift card for virtual and in-person meetings and meals when we meet in person. If you’re a member of our community and interested in joining, please review this document (LGBT-Health Initiative flyer 2020) and follow the instructions there. We’ll reach out to you after you have completed a short application.