Thursday, March 31, 2011

IOM Releases Report on LGBT Health Disparities Today

Earlier today, the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report entitled, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Understanding later today. This critical report recommends steps to ensure that clinical researchers identify and address the specific needs of LGBT populations. The report was written in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for guidance on researching LGBT health issues, given recent findings suggesting that certain characteristic such as gender and ethnicity matter when examining health disparities.

Despite the fact that independent researchers have conducted their own studies, since Stonewall and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the IOM admits that researchers still have a great deal to learn, and that researchers face a number of challenges in understanding the health needs of LGBT populations. The main challenge is that most government health surveys do not collect demographic information on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender indenity, which leads to limited data collection on LGBT populations. Therefore, understanding the the very unique health concerns for LGBT individuals is paramount to providing adequate health prevention and treatment for our loved ones.

The Institute of Medicine Committee on LGBT Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities is chaired by family medicine professor Robert Graham of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He's joined by colleagues from John Hopkins University, Harvard, the University of Virginia, the University of Chicago and many other esteemed colleges and universities. The Committee’s key recommendation from the study states once again, “to advance understanding of the health needs of all LGBT individuals, researchers need more data about the demographics of these populations, improved methods for collecting and analyzing data, and an increased participation of [LGBT individuals] in research.”

This study will enable PFLAG National’s policy team to continue advocating for improved data collection methods, non-discrimination policies in the healthcare setting along with cultural competency trainings for medical providers to deliver the sensitive and appropriate care our LGBT loved ones deserve.

Learn more about PFLAG National’s work on addressing and overcoming specific LGBT health disparities.

Also, please be sure to check out our Straight for Equality in Healthcare Guide to learn ways healthcare providers can serve as allies to LGBT patients.


Morgan Callahan said...

Rhode Island State Representative Dan Gordon is threatening to de-fund his own district's public high school because students started a Gay-Straight Alliance club to try to combat bullying.
Here's what he told NPR today: “I don’t think we should be promoting anything whatsoever that has to do with sexuality....Especially in a school that receives public funding.” He continued, “I don’t think there would be much of a problem with bullying if students weren’t flaunting their sexuality in school."
We want to send the message loud and clear to Representative Gordon that his actions are unacceptable and ask him to understand that this is why groups like Gay-Straight Alliance are so important. You can join us by sending your message here:

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Members of the LGBT community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers. Differences in sexual behavior account for some of these disparities, but others are associated with social and structural inequities, such as the stigma and discrimination that LGBT populations experience.

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