Vancouver-based queer male health organization expands to national level

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      Vancouver has long been at the forefront of progress in LGBT health and the rapid growth of a local queer male health organization will help to maintain that momentum going into the future on a national level.   

      The Vancouver-based non-profit Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men's Health (CBRC) runs several projects designed to improve health for men who have sex with men (MSM). Among them are the annual Gay Men's Health Summit; the Sex Now health survey; the Investigaytors program, which helps young men learn and practise research and statistics skills; and the GBT2Q Health Network, a British Columbian resource that involves knowledge exchange, capacity building, and advocacy for health issues, and includes activities such as webinars and policy working groups.

      As the organization has been broadening to encompass a national mandate, a recent move to new office spaces is helping them to adapt to that change.  

      CBRC communications manager Michael Haack told the Georgia Straight that the organization previously was located in two separate offices (at 234–970 Burrard Street) with a combined space of about 400 square feet that had a capacity of only 10 people. Consequently, Haack said that the size of the space inhibited their ability to grow.

      Haack said they moved into their new location at 1007–808 Nelson Street in August 2017 and held an open house on March 8. The new office is 1,200 square feet, can accommodate up to 50 people, and has meeting rooms for presentations, seminars, and more.

      The organization has also expanded from one staff member to seven in Vancouver, plus one each in Edmonton and Toronto. Former CBRC policy director Jody Jollimore was appointed CRBC's managing director in August, replacing Rick Marchand, and became executive director in February.

      The physical move complements CBRC's shift to undertake a national queer male health mandate. That change coincides with the Smarter Prevention project. Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada's Community Action Fund, this new initiative aims to improve MSM health through structural and personal change.

      Also as part of their national outlook, the 2017 Gay Men's Health Summit began incorporating content in Canada's official languages of English and French and will continue to do so in the future.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.