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November 17, 2022 (Cleveland, OH)

Healthy NEO Regional Convening Shares Important Updates and Assessment Results

Healthy NEO recently met for their Regional Convening with the goal of assembling partners across the nine-county Healthy Northeast Ohio region to discuss regional updates and a recently completed Community Health Needs Assessment which highlights LGBTQ+ issues in Greater Akron.


Led by Healthy NEO’s Regional Community Health Improvement Manager Libby McGraw and Data Analyst Sarah Szabo, general needs assessment project updates were shared from regional partners and culminated in a presentation by Andrew Snyder BSN, MPH, outreach program director and adjunct faculty at Kent State University’s College of Public Health.


Snyder’s presentation consisted of an overview of the Greater Akron LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment Final Report & Community Recommendations. This type of comprehensive LGBTQ+ specific community needs assessment is the first to ever be conducted in greater Akron, Ohio. This initiative can be seen as an essential first step toward improving the day-to-day lives of our local LGBTQ+ community.


“We need to use this data to drive decision making, to implement community health interventions and to realign a lot of the funding investments, both in community health interventions and in the resources that are available to people,” explained Snyder.


Nearly 1,000 survey participants were asked 130 questions, including:

  • Have you experienced LGBTQ+ discrimination?
  • Are there certain parts of Summit, Portage, Stark or Medina counties that you worry about your safety or acceptance because of your LGBTQ+ identity?
  • Have you ever felt discriminated against based on your sexual orientation or gender identity at work?
  • In your own experience, do you feel you and your needs are included, represented, accepted, recognized and advocated for?
  • What is your biggest fear, concern, or worry for yourself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

Additional questions covered the topics of safety and law enforcement, business and employment, health and wellness and many more.


Goals and Recommendations

The purpose of the assessment was to:

  • Increase awareness about public health as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community in Greater Akron
  • Lean into the local LGBTQ+ population demographically as the LGBTQ+ community is currently unassessed by the US Census, requiring reliance on estimates
  • Describe the status of the local LGBTQ+ community holistically; not just focusing on weaknesses and unmet needs but also identifying strengths and achievements
  • Develop a set of community recommendations based on participant input that inform future investments and decision-making for the local LGBTQ+ community
  • Strengthen partnerships and inter-organization collaborations within the local public health system

The report included numerous recommendations spanning health and wellness; religion and spirituality; education and literacy; housing, food and nutrition; business, employment and commerce; safety and law enforcement; recreation and leisure; and allyship with dozens of community recommendations, including:

  • Increase diverse representation in LGBT+ community organizational leadership, in politics and in the community.
  • Increase access to affirming and culturally competent mental health and behavioral health services and resources.
  • Continue to combat conversion therapy.
  • Create more safe spaces in schools for LGBTQ+ students to learn, connect and grow.
  • Start providing LGBTQ+ inclusive police and first responder trainings.
  • Reduce the experience of discrimination in the workplace through cultural and policy changes.

The assessment results helped reaffirm concerns and issues by providing real world data broken down into demographics with sexual orientation, income, age, race/ethnicity and more. You can view the full list of recommendations within the Final Community Report and Recommendations.


Story Module Feature

During the Regional Convening, Healthy NEO also highlighted their Story Module feature. Combining data visualizations, text and images to create a cohesive narrative about health and the status of a community, this tool can be extremely helpful to many organizations. Allowing you to easily organize yours pages into groups with content such as graphs, maps, text or images, you can utilize the Story Module by visiting healthyneo.org.


View Healthy NEO Events on YouTube

You can watch the Healthy NEO Regional Convening video presentation by visiting The Center for Health Affair’s YouTube page.

Also available is the Tuesday, Nov. 1 Healthy Northeast Ohio overview webinar showcasing the healthyneo.org platform, discussing local efforts and providing a website demonstration in an effort to improve a site users access to public health data, tools and community resources. View the full webinar here.