Health Equity Zones

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C. Kelly Smith

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equity Group (SOGI Equity)


  • The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) SOGI Equity Workgroup works to improve LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, and related) public health policies, systems, and environmental change
  • LGBTQ+ individuals often face healthcare challenges, including identifying and accessing providers knowledgeable about their health risks and behaviors and who provide culturally affirming care
  • Intersectionality: While sexual orientation and gender identity (SO/GI) are important parts of a person’s identity, there are often other demographic factors influencing access to care

What we do

  • Ensure that our health surveillance systems include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, and that this data is analyzed
  • Offer training to our staff and technical assistance to improve our ability to respond to LGBTQ+ health inquiries
  • Build relationships with other organizations to improve LGBTQ+ health equity statewide


  • Formed a large LGBTQ+ Equity Work Group with committees on Data and Surveillance, Training, Public Accommodations, Health Communications, and RIDOH Pride Planning
  • Sponsored, represented RIDOH, and brought culturally appropriate health education and information to Rhode Island PrideFest and the Illuminated Night Parade
  • Worked with RIDOH’s legislative liaison to draft policy papers supporting beneficial and opposing detrimental legislation impacting LGBTQ+ public health in the General Assembly
  • Advised RIDOH leadership on Policy Issues impacting LGBTQ+ communities such as conversion therapy, intersex rights, gender identity, and vital records
  • Advocated successfully for inclusion of SOGI Optional Module in adult Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)
  • Advocated successfully for high school Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS) to include gender identity
  • Advocated successfully for gender-inclusive vital records
  • Sponsored and brought culturally appropriate health information to the Rhode Island Trans Health Conference

Take pride in your health

Rhode Island Pride and Rhode Island Trans Health Conference Sponsors

The following RIDOH programs are proud to sponsor Rhode Island Pride and the Rhode Island Trans Health Conference in 2024:

To learn more about RIDOH programs and services, please visit our homepage. Additional LGBTQ+ community resources may be found on the Your Guide to Safer Sex: Your Health, Your Choice: Know Your Options page and the SOGI Equity: Partners and Additional Resources page.

Program Publications

Data Brief



Promotional Materials