The Fenway Institute’s Gustavo Torrez was recognized for his efforts in the tobacco control field with the Trailblazers Award for outstanding and continuous leadership in the tobacco control movement by the American Legacy Foundationduring their Youth Activism Reception at the National Conference for Tobacco or Health. Gustavo has been involved in the tobacco control movement for the past 17 years, starting off as a youth advocate and continuing into his role as Program Manager at The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity.
His innovative work with STAND (Sacramento Taking Action Against Nicotine) in Sacramento CA, put him on the map for working with youth and young adults in a variety of different areas, including: hookah tobacco, countering tobacco industry targeting and marketing in bars and nightclubs, youth and young adult cessation programming on and off high school and college campuses, secondhand smoke policy adoption, smoke-free multi-unit initiatives, and for providing innovative events and activities. In 2001 he worked with the CA Attorneys Generals office on an innovative video project which created two public service announcements and a curriculum utilized in school across CA focused on youth tobacco prevention. In 2004 he was one of 14 young people selected to be a part of Legacy’s National Speakers Bureau, and then in 2006 was selected to be part of Legacy’s inaugural Youth Activism Council which he was involved with for two years. Committed to the cause and seeing high rates of tobacco use within his community, he moved from California to Boston in 2009 to work specifically on tobacco control efforts in the LGBT community. As a Nationally recognized speaker and trainer, Gustavo has made, and will continue to make, his mark in field of tobacco prevention and control.
The Network for LGBT Health Equity at The Fenway Institute is community-driven network of advocates and professionals looking to enhance LGBT health by eliminating tobacco use, and enhancing diet and exercise. We are one of six CDC-funded tobacco disparity networks and we advance these issues primarily by linking people and information to advocate for policy change. We maintain a virtual forum of LGBT tobacco and wellness professionals, encouraging them to share lessons and jointly monitor gaps in the arena. We gather and maintain a promising practice clearinghouse through our website. We directly train state health departments or other policymakers in LGBT cultural competency and forge bridges between them and local LGBT health specialists. We actively monitor national and state health policymakers and urge community action when there is an opportunity to enhance LGBT wellness.
The American Legacy Foundation is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. The Foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use. They want to help all young people reject tobacco, and give everyone access to tobacco prevention and cessation services; they focus on vulnerable populations —youth, low-income Americans, the less educated, and racial, ethnic and cultural minorities; and they work through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns