Fenway Institute Commends NIMHD for Designating Sexual and Gender Minorities As a Health Disparity Population at NIH

The Fenway Institute today commended the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities for designating sexual and gender minorities (SGM) as a health disparity population for research at the National Institutes of Health. According to NIMHD director Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, “Mounting evidence indicates that SGM populations have less access to health care and higher burdens of certain diseases, such as depression, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. But the extent and causes of health disparities are not fully understood, and research on how to close these gaps is lacking.”

“In addition, SGM populations have unique health challenges,” he added. “More research is needed to understand these challenges, such as transgender people taking exogenous hormones.”

Dr. Stephen Boswell, CEO and President of Fenway Health, said, “Today’s historic designation of sexual and gender minorities as a health disparity population will significantly increase federal government support for LGBT health research. Given the striking disparities we see among LGBT people, and their intersection with racial/ethnic and other disparities, this designation will go a long way toward addressing and reducing LGBT health disparities and achieving health equity for LGBT people.”

The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health conducts research, education and training, and policy analysis and advocacy on LGBT health and HIV prevention and care. Fenway Institute faculty and staff have advocated for the designation of sexual and gender minority populations as a health disparity population for quite some time. Fenway Institute Co-Chair Judy Bradford, PhD has advocated for greater attention to LGBT people in health research as a member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The designation of sexual and gender minorities as a health disparities population is the culmination of many years of work within NIH, including the research and writing by the Institute of Medicine of the landmark 2011 report The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. Dr. Bradford and Fenway Institute Director of Education and Training Harvey Makadon, MD served on the IOM committee that wrote that report.

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