The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a program announcement in March calling for more research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) populations' health issues. The announcement, which invites researchers to submit grant applications for research on these topics, is a reissuing of a similar program that began in 2001 and ended last year.
"We've been concerned for many years with promoting research on how to reduce health disparities in these populations," says Clinton Anderson, PhD, APA's lesbian, gay and bisexual concerns officer.
The program encourages everything from basic research on the biological and social factors that contribute to health in LGBTI populations to applied research on developing treatment interventions.
Like most NIH program announcements, this one aims to attract more grant applications that can compete for general research funds, Anderson says. So although it does not provide any specific funding for projects, it does indicate that NIH's National Institute of Mental Health is interested in funding more LGBTI health research, and it should prompt more researchers to submit grant proposals, he explains.
That's particularly important in light of congressional efforts over the past few years to defund some sexual health research, according to Karen Studwell, JD, senior legislative and federal affairs officer in APA's Science Directorate. The 2003 Toomey amendment, for example, targeted a sexual health study funded under the previous program.
"It should be seen as a good sign that NIH is reaffirming its commitment to this kind of research," Studwell says.
For more information about the program contact Howard Kurtzman, PhD, NIMH program officer, at (301) 443-1576 or via e-mail.