LGBT Detroit, an organization that works to increase awareness of and support to Detroit's LGBT culture through education and advocacy, has recognized a Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member for her commitment to the LBGT community.
Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., professor of Oncology, received the Cornelius Wilson Community Service Award from LGBT Detroit during its annual Hotter Than July celebration because of her “commitment to increasing the awareness of and support to Detroit’s dynamic LGBT culture through education and advocacy with integrity and pride.”
“I am so honored to receive this award,” Dr. Thompson said. “ First, LGBT Detroit has been a local and national leader in social justice for decades, so to be acknowledged by LGBT Detroit for community service is incredibly meaningful. Second, to receive an award named for Cornelius Wilson is deeply humbling. I have worked directly with Mr. Wilson for the past several years through Karmanos’s Black Men’s Cancer Action Council and the CHECK-UP’s Community Health Scholar Program. He is widely respected as a leader and he’s a role model I want to emulate.”
Dr. Thompson is the associate director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. She also leads the Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations, or CHECK-UP, a transdisciplinary effort that works across Detroit communities and WSU’s schools, colleges and departments to identify barriers and bridges to health equity in the region.
In 2016, Dr. Thompson, who has spent her career addressing health disparities and collaborating with community groups to find solutions to improve health outcomes for those most vulnerable, launched Detroit HealthLink for Equity in Cancer Care, and expanded the program to engage LGBT communities in Detroit to help close the gaps on cancer disparities. Working with LGBT Detroit and with consulting by SAGE Metro Detroit (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders), the program engages sexual and gender minorities living with cancer, as well as their caregivers, inviting them to share their voice related to their cancer experience for the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of the delivery of care, identifying where improvements can be made, and expanding future research collaborations.
The award’s namesake, Cornelius Wilson, is a longtime advocate for LGBT rights. He is chief program director for SAGE and is a CHECK-UP Scholar. He has served as a board member and finance committee co-chair for the Detroit planning body of the Southeast Michigan HIV/AIDS Council, and chair of the planning committee for the annual SAGE Metro Detroit LGBT Older Adult Summit and the Hotter Than July LGBT celebration.
Created in 1995, Hotter Than July is the world’s second oldest and longest running Black pride celebration, providing LGBT and allied residents and guests entertainment and educational experiences.