The Institute on Aging and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System invited the community to an LGBT and Aging Workshop to learn about the experiences of LGBT elder healthcare and the specific needs, strengths and experiences of LGBT Veterans. Participants joined Heliana Ramirez, LGBT Program Manager at VA Palo Alto (VAPAHCS) to discuss issues of health challenges, wellness, recovery and community integration among LGBT elders and learn about clinical and social resources for care providers and LGBT elders.

To download the flyer for the conference, click here.

Keynote Speaker:

Heliana Ramirez, LISW, LGBT Program Manager

Heliana Ramirez, LISW is the LGBT Program Manager at VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) where she is the founding facilitator of the LGBT Veteran Support Group “Living Out Loud/Laughing Out Loud” and the LGBT Staff and Allies Employee Resource Group Manager. Ms. Ramirez has worked at VAPAHCS for 8 years as a Health Science Research Assistant, Community-based case Manager for Veterans living with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness and as a Process Improvement Project Member for the Social Work Service. Ms. Ramirez has over 15 years experience working with LGBT populations in the areas of HIV/Hepatits C prevention, healthcare, safer sex, and mental health including youth and adults in Santa Cruz and San Jose, CA, St. Louis, MO and New York City, NY. Most recently, Ms. Ramirez produced the groundbreaking documentary “The Camouflage Closet” ( regarding LGBT Veterans’ experiences with trauma and recovery and led VAPAHCS to achieve the distinguished title of “Leader in Health Equality” from the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index ( Ms. Ramirez is completing a PhD at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley with a dissertation on LGBT Veteran mental health and wellness.

Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) LGBT Staff and Allies is a group of VA employees who began meeting in 2012 to increase awareness about LGBT veteran and employee experiences at VAPAHCS. Through community outreach, public relations, staff training and resource development, LGBTSA strives to increase enrollment among veteran patients and employment applications from LGBT civilians and veterans alike. LGBTSA recognizes the unique contributions LGBT employees make to the VA’s mission of serving all veterans including LGBT veterans.


Monday, May 12, 2014


8:30am Registration
9:00am - 4pm Leadership Workshop


Veteran's Administration
Menlo Park Division
795 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Continuing Education:

Continuing Education: 4 CE credits available (BRN, BBS)

California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS): Course met the qualifications for 4 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Provider #: PCE 2079)

California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN): Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13610 for 4 contact hours.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants reviewed LGBT demographics, culturally sensitive language, and legal issues related to LGBT older adults and seniors.

2. Participants increased their cultural competency with LGBT older adults and seniors for work in their own professional settings.

3. Participants became familiar with the unique issues facing LGBT veterans.

4. Though the study of clinical vignettes participants gained clinical understanding and improved clinical skills for their work with older LGBT adults and LGBT seniors.

5. Participants learned about the various community resources available to provide support and services to older LGBT adults and LGBT Seniors AND how to advocate for their LGBT older adult and senior clients in general service organizations.