Main | Thursday, January 14, 2010

National Institute Of Health To Conduct Unprecedented Study Of LGBT Health

The National Institute of Health is inviting public comment on an unprecedented planned study of LGBT health issues. An insider writes us on how to help:
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), has been asked by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a report on LGBT health. Nothing like this has been done in the past, although IOM did do a report on lesbian health at the end of the Clinton administration. There is a period of public comment between now and Feb 1. People should be encouraged to take advantage of this. Vague comments ("We need more services for gay men") won't have much impact. Data-based comments will help, but commonplace, vivid examples of health disparities affecting LGBT folks may get noticed.There will be face-to-face meetings with opportunities for public participation, but they are likely to be DC-based and the dates have not been announced. The report will be used by NIH for planning purposes. It's likely that other federal agencies (CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA) will take notice of its findings and Congress usually is interested in the outcome of these reports.
Here's what the report will cover:
· The state of knowledge regarding LGBT health status, health risks, health disparities, and access and utilization of health care;
· The developmental process of childhood and adolescence, in the context of the family; and the impact of family and social acceptance of sexual orientation on mental health and personal safety;
· The effects of age, race, ethnicity, and geography (particularly urban vs rural environments) on the health of LGBT persons;
· The effects of social determinants and cultural factors, including stigma, discrimination, and violence on the health of LGBT persons;
· Assess methodological challenges, including definitional and measurement issues, and study design issues involved in conducting research on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and identify best practices for conducting research in these populations;
· Research gaps and opportunities, study design, and identification of best practices for conducting research in the LGBT population;
· Research training needs that might be impeding the advancement of knowledge about LGBT health.
You can provide feedback on this important and groundbreaking study. As noted by our source, please cite specific examples of issues of LGBT health.

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