Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What a success!

For fifteen years, the Rainbow Women’s Health Fair has offered access to health information and health care services to Seattle’s LBTQ community. Last weekend, the health fair was held at All Pilgrims Church on Broadway in the middle of Pride Weekend – and it was a smashing success!
Many thanks to All Pilgrims Church, all our volunteers and providers, and the community for their participation. We couldn’t have done it without you! And we can’t wait until next year!
Katie  Lama, LPN, providing glucose and cholesterol screenings

Doris Harris from the Breast Cancer Navigation Project

Two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence find Rainbow Women’s Health Fair Volunteers!

Volunteers Gabi and Agnes do intakes for women getting their mammograms

Volunteers Kyle and Shan offered free hugs at the Hug Deli!

YWCA Volunteer and Rainbow Health Fair Committee Member Jen Peters and YWCA Women’s Health Outreach Program Manager Ingrid Berkhout.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Providers at the Rainbow Women's Health Fair!

The Rainbow Women's Health Fair is this Saturday, June 29th from noon to 4pm! Come stop by All Pilgrims Church on Broadway for free health modalities!
See our most recent blog posts for lists of the providers that are participating, including these fabulous folks:
Safer Sex
Seattle Girls of Leather are a tremendous part of the Rainbow Women's Health Fair! Look for them at the front entrance of the Rainbow, where they will be greeting attendees with delicious snacks. Inside, halth care professional Candace Cantrell, President of Seattle Girls of Leather, will be answering questions about safer sex. Candace has many years of professional and personal exSeattle Girls of Leatherperiences in alternative sexuality communities, making her a dynamic educator.
B.E.S.T. Energy Healing

Linda Rasmussen, an Elite Master of B.E.S.T.  Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique), will be doing a demonstration and providing B.E.S.T. treatment.  B.E.S.T. is a gentle, light touch, energy balancing treatment that promotes relaxation and improves whole body functioning. Linda has a private practice and conducts workshops to train individuals and parents to provide basic energy balancing support to their family members and friends.
YWCA Women's Health Outreach conducts a mobile mammogram screening for income eligible people 40 and over, who are un- or under insured, under the WBCCHP . The mobile mammogram coach from Swedish Hospital will be on site providing breast exams and pap tests.
HIV Information

Entre Hermanos will be providing HIV/AIDS education specifically for the Latino/a community. They will be providing culturally appropriate information about disease prevention, education, support services, advocacy and community building.
We have several acupuncturists coming to the Rainbow!
Andrew Ball is a volunteer with The Alternative Health Access Campaign. Andrew runs acupuncture clinics for both Tent City 3 and ROOTS, providing medical care to the homeless population of Seattle and surrounding suburbs. His style of healthcare is focused on empowering patients to be able to better take care of themselves physically, mentally, and energetically.
Taunya Mattson will be doing a five needle protocol that is used in acupuncture detoxification, and by acupuncturists without borders for stress relief in populations struck by natural disaster.  These needles are non-invasive, help with relaxation, and provide a safe introduction to what acupuncture can do.
Jonathan Silliman is an East Asian Medicine Practitioner, specializing in stress relief, sleep disturbance, and emotional equilibrium. At the fair, he will be offering ear/head/hand acupuncture as well as some clothed Shiatsu massage.
Dianna Dean celebrates 10 years as an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist for the queer community.  She specializes in chronic health concerns from pain conditions, respiratory, gastroenterology, and menopause, to addictions, stress, depression and other psycho emotional issues. 
Pap Tests
Cedar River Cinic is providing FREE Pap tests! This will be the first year that we are able to offer this at the Rainbow. Dr. Jules Marsh from Cedar River along with Kara Harrington, ARNP student, and Amy Boone, ARNP, from Westside Family Clinic are generously offering their time to do the Paps.

The Grinning Yogi will be doing a 45-minute yoga workshop from 1:15-2pm. Come join them upstairs for a relaxing and fun session of yoga!
Blood Pressure
Morgan Manalia, a nursing student at Seattle University, will be taking blood pressure readings and answering questions about blood pressure.

Glucose and Cholesterol Screenings

Katie Lama is a nurse with SeaMar Home Health. She also does work through the Mexican consulate to provide screenings like the glucose and cholesterol screenings that she will be providing at the Rainbow. Katie has worked with the queer and trans populations for decades and is excited to provide glucose and cholesterol screenings for attendees of the health fair.
Nutrition Information
Barbara Hoppe will be tabling at the Rainbow giving folks information about nutrition. Barbara is a nutritionist, health educator, and lactation consultant. She has a great deal of experience teaching about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. Come visit her table to learn more!
Nutrition Demonstration
Golda will be doing a nutrition demonstration in the kitchen. Join her to learn how to make a healthful and nutritious smoothie!

Breast Cancer Information
Doris Harris from the Breast Cancer Navigation Project will tabling and providing information on how to navigate the complex experience of having breast cancer.
Check Your Boobies will have an information table about their program. Stop by to learn how to sign up for monthly email or text reminders to check your boobies!


Monday, June 17, 2013

"We promised them we would tell the world."

Last year, the National LGBT Cancer Network surveyed LGBT cancer survivors to learn more about their experiences in the health care system. More than 300 individuals from across the country participated in the survey and shared their stories.

After connecting with LGBT cancer survivors and conducting their research, the National LGBT Cancer Network made recommendations that fall beneath these six themes:

  1. Stigma plays a prominent role in LGBT healthcare. (pg. 8)
  2. The local healthcare environment determines one's experience and is highly variable. (pg. 10
  3. Disclosure [to healthcare providers] is often related to perceived safety. (pg. 13)
  4. Respecting LGBT patients means respecting their support teams. (pg. 17)
  5. The pervasive expectation of gender conformity can be alienating. (pg. 21)
  6. LGBT survivors need more culturally appropriate support and information. (pg. 24)
In the report's conclusion, they write:

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but the healthcare system often
does, as evidenced by the many experiences reported here
by survey respondents. These experiences, while taking place
at one of the margins of the healthcare system, offer a rare
glimpse into the opportunities for change in the entire system.
A well-intentioned one-size-fits-all approach too often gives
a message of unwelcome to LGBT patients, leading those
who can avoid the system to do so, and suggesting to others
that they need to remain silent about their lives, their support
systems and their needs.
For more information and to read the recommendations, read the full report here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who's Who at the Rainbow Women's Health Fair, Part 2!

Everest College is generously bringing six massage students to do free massages for folks at the Rainbow! Everest College focuses on high-demand, specialized curricula and is dedicated to the provision of an interactive learning environment created to support the professional career development of their students.
Health Care Reform
Community Health Plan of Washington will be providing information about their services. They are a non-profit whose mission is to deliver accessible managed care services which meet the needs and improve the health of the community. Community Health Plan of Washington is the only health plan in the state created by local community centers.
Hepatitis C Testing
The Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) will be giving free Hepatitis C tests! HEP is committed to providing support, education and advocacy for people affected by hepatitis and to helping raise hepatitis awareness among patients, medical providers, and the general public.
Pet Adoption
MEOW Cat Rescue and Adoption will be providing information about their adoption services. They promote lifelong relationships between people and companion animals, providing shelter and care for each precious life until adopted into a forever home.
Tarot Reading
Marcia Moonstar from Moon-Wise Astrology will be at the Rainbow doing mini-astrology and tarot readings! Marcia has been a practicing astrologer for over 20 years, blending mythology, experiential astrology, women's spirituality, and holistic healing with astrology. She gives clients insight into their career potentials and future possibilities.
Heart Health
Look for Hayley Grandine from The Hope Heart Institute at the Rainbow! Hayley focuses on providing heart health outreach to a variety of populations within the greater Seattle area. She will be giving out heart health information and resources to prevent heart disease.
HIV Peer Support
The fabulous BABES Network-YWCA will be answering questions about HIV/AIDS, providing education about prevention and how to manage your status, and handing out condoms! BABES is a sisterhood of women facing HIV together; they are a peer education and support network for women living with HIV.
HIV Testing
Amber Tejada from Gay City Health Project is providing free and confidential HIV tests! These rapid tests give results only 20 minutes after they are taken. Gay City is the leading provider of HIV and STI testing in King County.
Naturopathic Blood Pressure
Les Witherspoon, who is a naturopathic physician at Well Steps Naturopathic, is coming to the Rainbow to give blood pressure readings and brief consultations for health conditions. Les offers naturopathic primary care that is sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ individuals and their families and households. Les offers transgender individals transitional medicine as well as general healthcare.
Along with Journey Midwife Services (see our previous provider post on this blog), Simon Adriane Ellis and Laura MacPherson from Essential Healthcare and Midwifery Services are coming to the Rainbow. They pride themselves on providing quality care that is affordable, accessible, and culturally responsive. In addition to care during pregnancy and birth, they offer fertility services and reproductive care across the lifespan. They will be giving information about their services at the Rainbow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recognizing Depression!!

While great societal shifts have been taking place for the LGBTQ community, depression is still seen at a rate two and a half times the national average. When combined with gender issues, lesbians have an even higher rate of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse as well as higher smoking rates. The major reasons for these rates is thought to be a result of continued societal stress around issues of minority status, gender biases, internalized homophobia, and lack of familial and community support. Situations can also spark depression, bad health habits, social and work related stressors, bodily changes, all can be contributing factors. The brain can also develop glitches in it’s neuro-chemical and electrical functioning for no apparent reason. As a result of the new brain mapping technologies, exciting new theories and treatment options are being generated, showing great promise. Research is just now truly beginning to unravel how the brain works!

Depression is not just about feeling sad, it is a medical illness with a cluster of symptoms that persist for at least 2 weeks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health the following symptoms can describe depression:
·         Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
·         Fatigue and decreased energy
·         Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
·         Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
·         Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
·         Irritability, restlessness
·         Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including
·         Overeating or appetite loss
·         Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
      that do not ease even with treatment
·         Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
·        Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Can Depression be prevented?

While depression is very treatable, not all depression is preventable especially with unexpected chemical malfunctioning of the brain, just as with any unexpected illness. Research does show that good health habits, good eating, exercise, limited substance use like alcohol, no cigarettes, good support systems, doing more for others, internal check of automatic negative thinking, all contribute to good mental health.

Christie Driskell, LICSW

If you want to know more, Christie will be at the 15th Rainbow Health Fair to answer your questions.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Who's Who at the Rainbow Women's Health Fair

It's that time of year again! Over the next few weeks as we lead up to our 15th annual Rainbow Women's Health Fair, we will be highlighting our health fair providers on this blog.

To give you the first taste of the fabulous folks who are volunteering to make the health fair happen, here is a list of their impressive expertise that they will be bringing on Saturday, June 29th:

Ovarian and Breast Cancer Information
Joan Elvin, a sixteen-year survivor of ovarian and breast cancer, will be providing education and awareness materials. Joan works with the Ovarian and Breast Cancer Alliance to replace fear with fact and to empower women to know the early warning signs of ovarian and breast cancers.

Smoking Cessation and Depression
An optimist by nature and tenacious by spirit, Christie Driskell will be offering several screenings, including depression and tobacco cessation. Christie has over 25 years of experience doing clinical mental health social work both within and outside of the LGBTQ community, and she will be at the Rainbow Women's Health Fair with the door open for lively discussion, empathetic listening, problem-solving, and the opportunity to shift one's perspective.

Emi Yamasaki McLaughlin and Caitlin Wheaton are midwives from Journey Midwife Services, which was started with the goal of increasing access to maternity care for LGBTQ folks, communities of color, and teens. Journey Midwife Services practices shared decision making with clients so that they feel empowered and informed. Stop by their table at the Rainbow to talk about resources for getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and options for natural births.

Chiropractic Services
Interested in finding out your stress and toxicity levels? Dr. Connie Amundson will be doing hormonal and nerve stress tests, as well as chemical toxicity screenings. Dr. Amundson will be using techniques such as trigger point therapy to help patients cope with their stress levels.

Dr. Christiana Maia and Dr. Sarah Eckman from Trilogy Chiropractic Studio will be offering digital posture analysis through an iPad app! Patients will be able to learn where their posture is misaligned and view a diagram of what a more ideal posture looks like for them. The folks at Trilogy Chiropractic Studio view chiropractic care as a way to foster proper communication between the brain and the body and to treat the cause of pain rather than the symptoms.

Elder Care
Beth Davis from Home Health and Hospice will be providing information and support for folks who want to complete an Advanced Directives to Physicians document. Beth is currently working towards opening an LGBT-welcoming Adult Family Home, Pride House, to provide care and housing for those who require assistance with daily living.

Dr. Kira Baum will be at the Rainbow doing a demonstration on how to make naturopathic tinctures out of common medicinal herbs that grow right here in our city! Dr. Baum's passion is to assist people in achieving their health goals in a gentle and effective way.


Friday, May 31, 2013

15th Annual Rainbow Women's Health Fair!

Rainbow Women’s Health Fair to be held June 29

Free massage? Free yoga? Free mammograms, pap tests, acupuncture, and more – all in an LBTQ-friendly setting? Sign me up!

Actually, for most of these services, no sign-up is necessary. Just come by All Pilgrims Church at Republican and Broadway between noon and 4pm on Saturday, June 29, the day of the Capitol Hill Pride Festival. That’s where the Rainbow Women’s Health Fair will be taking place. The goal of the health fair is to provide holistic and traditional health services and education from culturally competent providers to lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and genderqueer and transgender people, especially those with limited access to care. “It’s about empowering the community to take care of their health,” says Ingrid Berkhout, women’s health outreach coordinator at the YWCA. Since 2000, she has coordinated a team of volunteers to make the health fair happen each Pride.

Research shows that lesbian and bisexual women are less likely to get the preventive screenings they need, like mammograms and pap tests, and are more likely to experience some health issues, such as depression. Trans people of all genders face even more barriers to getting the health care they need. Yet there are very few health services in Seattle geared toward LBTQ women and trans people. The Rainbow Women’s Health Fair attempts to fill this gap, at least for one day each year.

Why attend the health fair? Ingrid offers a lot of reasons: “To experience alternative healthcare you might not know about. To get your vitals checked. To have fun, meet women, maybe find a provider, and get lots of information about LBT community organizations. To be proud of your health! Because if you’re not healthy, nothing really works.” All providers that participate in the fair volunteer their time and resources, and the planning committee focuses on recruiting LBTQ providers (or people with a long history of serving our community) to ensure that all services are culturally competent, as well as free, for all participants.

The Rainbow Women’s Health Fair was started in 1995 by the Seattle Lesbian Cancer Project. In later years, the fair was sponsored by Verbena Health, and after their premature demise, Ingrid and the fair moved over to the YWCA. Despite the many changes in our community, the fair is still going strong. This year’s fair will be the 15th (a few years have been skipped), and will include free yoga, massage, acupuncture, HIV tests, vitals checks, mammograms, pap smears, raffle prizes, and more, as well as interactive workshops throughout the day on topics like nutrition. Check out the YWCA’s LBTQ health blog at for updates.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Nina Cole at 206.461.4482 or To schedule a mammogram appointment or for general information, contact Ingrid at or 206.461.4493. See you there!

-Sara Jaye Sanford, MPH (Rainbow Women’s Health Fair Volunteer)  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Get Inspired and join YWCA WALKS at the Komen Race for the Cure, Sun. June 2nd.

Angelina Jolie recently revealed her choice to have a preventive double mastectomy, she spoke powerfully about the need for all women to have access to lifesaving early detection and preventative treatment, addressing that cost can be an obstacle.

Unfortunately, there over 60,000 women in our community who cannot pay for breast cancer early detection procedures due to low income and lack of health insurance.

Here is where Komen Puget Sound comes in.

We are proud to announce, Komen Puget Sound will award $1.6 million to fight breast cancer locally. The majority, $953,000, will go to the Washington State Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program (BCCHP) to provide lifesaving breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services to nearly 10,000 women living in our region. Komen Puget Sound is Washington State’s largest private provider of free mammograms to low income and uninsured women.

Our ability to provide these women with lifesaving early breast cancer detection and treatment support comes largely from the funds we raise at the Race for the Cure.

 Here is where you come in!

YWCA Women’s Health Outreach depends on these funds for the work we do in helping to erase health disparities in low-income and LBTQ communities.

It is not too late to join or donate to YWCA WALKS, you will receive a YWCA visor and a Komen Inspire t-shirt.

In less than one week, we will be celebrating our 20th Annual Race for the Cure. If you have not already signed up or donate, here is your chance:  If you have already registered, thank you. Now, please reach out and encourage your friends, family and co-workers to register as well.

I look forward to seeing you at the Race!
Be well, Ingrid

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dealing with Pap Phobia

When was the last time you had a Pap test?

Did you know the biggest risk factor for cervical cancer is not having a Pap test every two years?

We know it can often be challenging for people who are LBTQ to feel comfortable getting a Pap test. Because of a lack of acceptance or knowledge, communities and health care providers can inadvertently create uncomfortable or unsafe environments for their LBTQ patients. It's important for LBTQ individuals to find providers they trust and clinical settings that honor confidentiality. On top of all this, the cost of health care and other barriers - like a bad experience in the past - may keep us from going to see the doctor on a regular basis.

The Advocate recently published an Op-Ed called "The Lesbian Pap Phobia." The writer describes an encounter she had with a friend who had been afraid to get a Pap test, and was asking her to be her wing-person when she went for her appointment.

While I was a bit surprised by my friend’s request for me to be her wingman for her Pap test, it was an easy yes. Honestly, though, when she first started telling me her story I got pissed off. This woman has a great job. She’s generally amazing and politically astute... Except she’s 46 and she’d never had an annual exam, a Pap, any exam whatsoever that involved her genitals.

But as I listened, I realized that she was terrified. Embarrassed. She’d learned early to be suspicious of doctors; they never quite respected her queerness. She’d never been sexually active with men; she’d never sought a birth control pill prescription for contraception or as a means of managing some of the other boatload of crap that some people with a uterus can experience with menstrual cycles. Instead, she’d gotten the message so many queer women have gotten: lesbians don’t need that kind of health care. Lesbian sex is safe sex — no risk of sexually transmitted infections? And really, who wants to endure a litany of birth control questions that are too often and too aggressively paired with a women’s health checkup anyway!  So at 46, against that backdrop, she’d taken care of almost every other preventive medical intervention possible, but not the Pap test.

... Every year, approximately 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease. But, if it is detected early, the five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is almost 100%.

Routine screenings for cervical cancer can detect precancerous conditions and allow health care providers to treat them before they progress. And vaccination against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, can prevent the initial infection that leads to cancer. HPV can be passed by skin-to-skin contact. Planned Parenthood health centers provide 585,000 Pap tests and advanced testing and treatment for thousands of women with abnormal Paps and precancerous conditions.

I went with my friend to get her Pap test. The nurse and the practitioner were amazing, showing such compassion and expertise, I was so proud of Planned Parenthood. The results require a repeat Pap. I’ll be there again, no question. And I will fight with more verve and spirit than I did before. Because lesbians matter, and cervical health matters regardless of sexual orientation or sexual behaviors. Seriously.

At the 15th Annual Rainbow Health Fair on Saturday, June 29, we will have free Pap tests available for individuals of all ages from peer providers. To learn more about the health fair, Pap tests, or women's health in general - please contact YWCA Women's Health Outreach Program Manager Ingrid Berkhout at 206.461.4493 or

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sharing our Stories

We see it all around us – breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer… The list goes on. Cancer devastates families and communities across our country. In 2008, there were approximately 12 million Americans living with a history of cancer – either living with cancer or having become cancer free. In 2012, it was expected that 1.6 million Americans would be diagnosed with cancer.
Education on cancer, prevention, and early detection is critical. And so is celebrating the successes and victories of individuals, their families, and their medical teams as they beat cancer and go on to live healthy and wholehearted lives. Recently The New York Times created a photo board of people who share insights from their lives after cancer.
The New York Times asks: How did your life change after cancer?
Click on an image in the gallery and that person’s story will appear.
Here is one such story – an inspiring message from Ilene! (Click on the image below to make it bigger.)
If you’re interested in sharing your own story, click here to upload a photo and tell the world about how your life is different after cancer.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rainbow Women's Health Fair-- Save the Date!

Mark your calendar because the date of this year's Rainbow Women's Health Fair has been set for Saturday, June 29th! Festivities will be happening at All Pilgrims Church, 500 Broadway East, from 12-4pm.

The Rainbow Women's Health Fair, which has taken place annually since 1997, will have a wide variety of health and wellness services available to all lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and genderqueer and transgender people. Expect to see acupuncture, pet therapy, health screening, mammograms and Pap tests, and much more! We will continue to update our blog as we finalize our list of fabulous volunteer providers. 

The mission of the Rainbow Women's Health fair is to provide both holistic and traditional health services and education from culturally competent providers to lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and genderqueer and transgender people, especially those with limited access to care. We envision a world where people of all genders and sexualities have access to the resources they need for optimal wellness.

To make an appointment for a Pap test or mammogram, call Ingrid at 206.461.4493 or email her at
To volunteer for the health fair call Nina at 206.461.4482 or email her at

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Eat Your Way to a Strong Immune System

Research suggests that women who identify as LBTQ are more than twice as likely to be overweight as their heterosexual counterparts. We have all heard that diet and exercise are the key components to maintaining a healthy weight. But good nutrition is not just about preventing obesity; there are many benefits to a balanced, healthful diet. The following foods, for example, are great immunity boosters. Replace other, less healthy items in your diet with these vitamin-rich goodies and your immune system will reap the benefits and keep you from getting sick. And who doesn't want that?
Yogurt contains live bacteria, called cultures, that act as pro-biotics in the body. This means that they help your digestive system do its job, thereby keeping you regular and helping to prevent digestive illnesses. Try putting individual yogurt packets in the freezer as a replacement for ice cream, or have yogurt with your cereal in the morning instead of milk. If at all possible eat organic-- it's good for you and the planet!
Garlic is a natural antiseptic. Eating garlic when you feel a cold coming on significantly reduces your chances of the cold taking over your body. Add chopped garlic cloves to almost any sauce, pizza, or stir-fry dish. And try to refrain from buying pre-chopped garlic; the fresher cut the garlic is the more germ-fighting properties it has.
Beta carotene, the compound that is a precursor for Vitamin A, boosts your body’s production of T cells, which are a key component of your immune system. Chomp on carrots, raw or cooked, to get the benefits of beta carotene. Carrots have also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
March is colorectal cancer awareness month-- folks over 50, remember to get the highly preventive colonoscopy screening once ever ten years!
The omega-3s in fish are powerful in reducing inflammation, which in turn reduces symptoms of various illnesses. Plus, fish has vitamins that help your T cells produce virus-fighting agents. Whether you eat canned tuna or cook an elaborate grilled salmon, your immune system will be stronger.
Black tea --decaf or caffeinated-- contains an amino acid that fights viruses in the body. If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, try replacing at least a few of your usual cups of jo with tea instead. As a bonus health benefit, a cup of black tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, which means that a cup of tea will dehydrate you less than coffee will.
Not only does ginger naturally reduce anxiety, it has chemicals that help break down the type of virus that causes common colds, and it relieves pain and reduces fevers. Ginger teas are a great way to get your dose of ginger. Make your own ginger tea by shaving some ginger into boiling water and adding a little honey and lemon. Some stores also sell candied ginger—while these products can be high in sugar, they are delicious and easy to eat! Just be careful that when you are buying an item labeled as “ginger” that is has ginger listed as one of the first ingredients. Most ginger ale, for example, actually contains very little of the spicy root and is loaded with high fructose corn syrup* instead.
Taking a hot bath with shaved ginger helps when you feel a cold coming up.

For recipes and tips on healthy eating, visit

Keep your immune system healthy and you will be happy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Be Prepared for Health Care Reform

The YWCA's Health Access blog posted a very informative and helpful article about Health Care Reform. Even though finding a provider who is sensitive to LBTQ needs and concerns can feel daunting, it is important to understand the changes that are happening to health care so you can know what your options are. Read the post below:

Different pieces of health care reform have been implemented and many of us are preparing for more changes this fall and early in 2014. There is a lot of information out there on health care reform and these changes, and often I just feel overwhelmed by it all.

The federal government has a website that is completely dedicated to health care reform: It has a lot of great information, including this list of steps for individuals and families.

Given that health care reform is so big and can feel overwhelming to the Average Jane as well as health professionals, I suggest taking it in small doses.

First, learn about different types of health insurance. If you live in Washington state, learn about Washington Health Plan Finder. The exchange is set to go live in October 2013. Also visit this site to learn more about basic insurance options including Medicaid and, for those not able to afford insurance coverage, access to free or reduced/low-cost services at community health clinics in your neighborhood.

Second, make a list of questions you have before it’s time to choose your health plan. This will help you be prepared when that time comes, and you’ll feel confident you’re making a choice that works best for you and your family. It’s possible not everyone in your family will end up with the same coverage, so check out eligibility for each and every family member.

Third, learn about how insurance works. This site on insurance basics can answer your questions on types of plans and network restrictions, and different kinds of policies.

Fourth, gather basic information on your household income. says that most people will qualify to get a break on costs (premium or out-of-pocket), and that we’ll need income information to find out how much we’re eligible for.

Fifth, set your budget. Find out how much you can pay for insurance and then look at plans that fit your needs and budget. When looking at options in the Washington Health Care Exchange, you will be able to access clear information about different services, benefits, and costs right there, and compare different options available to and affordable for you.

Sixth, find out about possible employer-based health plans. Even if you work at a small business, you might have access to a health insurance plan through your employer.

Seventh, explore your options. There are plans that exist now that might work for your needs and budget. Do some research to see what is available now, and what options we can expect in the near future.

Washington’s Health Care Exchange goes live in the fall. At that point, when we have questions, we’ll be able to speak to representatives at a call center or meet with a navigator or receive other forms in-person assistance. Be sure to reach out and ask questions! This is a new system for all of us.

Wild Rose Screening Event

To close 2012 with a bang, Women's Health Outreach had a wildly successful mobile screening event at the Wild Rose on December 8th. Sixteen women received free mammograms and Pap tests, twelve of whom were uninsured.

The Swedish mobile van

One of our wonderful mammogram recipients

Our fabulous volunteers

Here's what some of the attendees said about why they came to the screening:

“I think this is a great idea...I love this program.”

“I only have a catastrophic insurance plan. My friend and I were both nervous about getting mammograms. But this is at the Wild Rose, and feels really queer-friendly.”

“I don’t have medical insurance. The quotes I get are $800 a month. This is a wonderful program.”
“Health services should be available to everyone, regardless of finances.”

“I’m 40. Mammograms are expensive. But I have a family history of breast cancer, and I thought, ‘I should do this.’”
There are many great reasons to get a mammogram, especially considering 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and the numbers in LBTQ women are even higher.

The next Wild Rose screening will take place in November of 2013. Look for updates and information on how to sign up in the coming months!

Special thanks to Erika Langley for taking pictures and gathering quotes for us!