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Programs for LGBT Students at Ithaca College Lauded for Innovation

ITHACA, NY — A website that helps students make informed decisions about their education has recognized the Ithaca College Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Education, Outreach and Services. In its list of colleges and universities helping support a more inclusive community, Nerd Scholar cited the LGBT Center as the most innovative for its anti-smoking initiative and its Voice and Communication Modification Program for People in the Transgender Community.

Research shows that rates of cigarette smoking among LGBT people are much higher than in the general population. To address this issue, the center created the smoking prevention and cessation program in 2002 with the assistance of a grant from the Tobacco Control Coalition through the Tompkins County Health Department. Since adopted by other colleges across the U.S., the initiative facilitated programming aimed at

  • increasing knowledge of the health risks for LGBT tobacco users and non-users;
  • increasing knowledge of ways tobacco companies target the LGBT community and create action plans to resist their tactics; and
  • promoting quitting and preventing initiation of tobacco use among LGBT students.

Special events and services, including “Quit Kits,” workshops and film screenings, continue to be offered periodically. The most current version of the Quit Kits represent a collaboration among the Ithaca College and Cornell University LGBT centers and the community organization Out for Health.

The initiative was recognized by the statewide Task Force for Tobacco-Free Women and Girls, based at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. It also appears as a best practice in the “Tobacco Programming Ideas — Call to Action” chapter of a manual produced by the Bacchus and Gamma Peer Education Network and

Luca Maurer, program director of the LGBT Center, was an invited presenter at the third National Tobacco Symposium, a gathering for student affairs professionals, researchers, health educators, students and community members to learn more about one of the greatest health problems facing young adults.

The Voice and Communication Modification Program is offered in conjunction with the Ewing Speech and Hearing Clinic — located in the college’s School of Health Sciences and Human Performance — and Planned Parenthood.

“The clinic serves transgender people who are involved in the exploratory process of finding their own true voice and focuses on developing articulation, language, non-verbal communication, self-perception and voice-related quality of life,” says Maurer. “It provides an important resource to the community by offering the most current treatment methods in the area of transgender communication, and it provides valuable experiential learning opportunities for graduate students who are working on their master of science degree in speech-language pathology at Ithaca College.”

Open to both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender people, the program is offered free to Ithaca College students as well as to faculty and staff members and their families. Community members not affiliated with IC are also welcome to become clients of the clinic, and pay a nominal fee for this specialized service.

For more information on the LGBT Center and its services, visit or contact Luca Maurer at

Cutline: The Ithaca College LGBT Center offers Quit Kits as part of its smoking prevention and cessation program.