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Fort Lauderdale Hosts Health Summit

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Over 300 Expected to Attend Event

By JAMES MICHAELS

(Photo: NGMHC Secretary Dr. David Fawcett, PhD,LCSW.

Courtesy of Dr. Fawcett)

The ninth annual Southeast Regional Gay Men’s Health Summit will be held August 25 through 30, 2010 at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel. This year’s Southeast Regional is being held in conjunction with the biennial National Gay Men’s Health Summit which this year chose Fort Lauderdale for its location.

This year’s Summit will address a wide range of health issues impacting gay and bisexual men including HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, spirituality, homophobia, substance use, mental health, political activism, physical fitness and other topics. There will be over 40 workshops and planned social events.

The Summit is open to all gay and bisexual men who share a common interest in promoting better physical, spiritual and mental health. This is the third year in a row that the Regional Summit is being held in Fort Lauderdale.

The first Southeast Regional was held at Jekyll Island, Georgia and was met by protesters from local churches claiming that the Summit’s mission was to “recruit”
young boys and girls into homosexuality. This is the third year in a row that the Southeast Regional has been held in Fort Lauderdale, other Florida Summit locations include Fort Walton and Jacksonville Beach,

This is also the sixth National Summit; the first two being held in Boulder, Colorado then Raleigh, North Carolina, Salt Lake City, Utah and Seattle, Washington.

“There’s a movement across the country — a shift from what is wrong with gay men [in regards to health issues] and instead focuses on strengths,” said Dr. David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW, secretary for the National Gay Men’s Health Conference. “It’s bringing together guys who are interested in their health; not just their physical, but their emotional health and put together a place where they can socialize and network.”

Fawcett said that so far, there are 300 people registered for the Summit;  last year’s Summit attracted 150 attendees.

Fawcett credits that this year’s increased attendance to it being the “national” summit attracting people from all over the United States in addition to England and Australia. In the past years, Fawcett added, it’s really been geared towards the southeast, mostly Florida.

“I think that sometimes when people hear it’s a summit,” said Fawcett, “they think of boring workshops and Power Point presentations. But we’ve really gone out of our way to make it much more interactive this year.” He said that there will be information exchange but their will also be topics like writing and yoga.

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