Monday, April 4, 2011

Report Urges US government to Collect Health Data on LGBT People

Last week, the National Academy of Sciences released a report that calls for an increased effort in including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in health studies to better understand the health conditions that effect the community. According to the report, LGBT people are more visible in society, yet little research has been conducted to understand the health needs of the community.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also publicizing their intentions for increasing services to the LGBT community. They released a statement saying, “For too long, LGBT people have been denied the compassionate services they deserve. That is now changing. HHS continues to make significant progress toward protecting the rights of every American to access quality care, recognizing that diverse populations have distinctive needs. Safeguarding the health and well-being of all Americans requires a commitment to treating all people with respect while being sensitive to their differences.”

The New York Times reports that the US "government should systematically collect demographic data" on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and should "conduct biomedical research to understand why they are more likely to have certain chronic conditions, the National Academy of Sciences said Thursday." In fact, "in a report requested by the National Institutes of Health, the academy proposed an ambitious research agenda to investigate the prevalence and causes of obesity, depression, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions among gay people."

The Associated Press reported, "Stigma often keeps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from seeking health care -- and when they do, there's little research to guide doctors in their treatment, the Institute of Medicine reported Thursday." For that reason, "researchers should start asking people about their sexual orientation and gender identity, just as they routinely ask about race and ethnicity, in all government-funded health studies, the panel concluded."

According to the CNN "The Chart" blog, "Judith Bradford, PhD, a member of the committee who wrote the report, says the study is extremely important because it provides a picture of how little information is out there and shines a light on how stigma and discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity can impact health in these communities."

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