IOM Calls for More Federal Funding of LGBT Health Research


The National Institutes of Healh, for whom the report was specifically intended, voiced Thursday that they will work to support future LGBT research and colllaborate with the National Center for Health Statistics, a component of CDC, "to address and improve the methodology for collecting survey data on sexual orientation and gender identity," according to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.

But Grossman expressed some skepticism about how far this call for federal funding would go: "We'll see what happens when the Republicans get hold of it," he said. "The LGBT community may end up being the punching bag on the floor of Congress."

Major Issues ID'd in the Report

The specific purpose of the report was to inform the National Institutes of Health on research needs, but many hope it will motivate a range of health care professionals to start collecting data and looking at the specific health problems facing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and lesbians, says Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel of the Human Rights Campaign.

The report identifies dozens of health findings regarding LGBT health disparities, synthesizing more than 100 studies from the past decades on this topic.

Hopes for Change in LGBT Awareness

Poor access to health insurance because of discrimination among employee-provided health care to spouses and domestic partners, high rates of mental health problems, including substance abuse, depression and thoughts of suicide, and increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases are just a few of the more pressing concerns identified in the report, says report committee member Judith Bradford, director of the Center or Population Research in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health at the Fenway Institute.

Less publicized health problems include a lack of LGBT training in medical schools, the special health risks experienced by elder LGBTs and a dearth of research into almost all areas of the transgender experience.

"We want all sorts of people in the health care system, those who do research, those who provide care, those who work in community programs, and even the general population, to see this report and learn more about LGBT people as a result," says Bradford.

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