The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has just released their response to the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) health.
The NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee has taken the unprecedented step of analyzing their full portfolio to identify gaps related to LGBT health and lay out the step-by-step responses to the seven key recommendations laid out by the Institute of Medicine.
The head of the NIH, Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, released a statement along with the report, assuring, “The NIH is now developing a multi-pronged plan to implement a number of these opportunities to extend and advance the knowledge base for promoting LGBT health.”
The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health commends the NIH on taking such large step towards addressing the historic gaps in health research for LGBT people. NIH staff were extremely thorough and detailed in their consideration of this complex issue. The IOM report was the road map for a new day in LGBT health, this response shows us that the road is now being built.
“Science-based information about the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has long been lacking, making it near impossible for providers and service organizations to carefully address their needs. These gaps in knowledge lead to the health disparities and lack of inadequate care for LGBT individuals; now we can look forward to greater emphasis and support for the knowledge to better meet these challenges. As recognition grows, increased opportunities to educate providers and scientists will build the foundation for more adequate health care and increased trust of the populations addressed by the NIH and its institutes,” said Judith B. Bradford, PhD, Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health and Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute and a member of the IOM panel that drafted the 2011 report on LGBT health.
The NIH response outlines a series of areas where more research is needed in relation to LGBT health, including: smoking, depression, cancer, aging, obesity, alcoholism, and transgender and intersex-specific health needs. It also recommends expanded LGBT data collection, and highlights several steps being taken to augment data now. There are also recommendations for incorporating LGBT health issues into education and training curricula for future health researchers.
We look forward to working together with the NIH and other public health, medical and advocacy groups to continue to advance LGBT health research, care and training.