IOM Examines LGBT Health Research for NIH

The Institute of Medicine has formed a committee to assess the state of research on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations and make recommendations to the National Institutes of Health about directions for future research and research training. The committee, which is funded by NIH, is expected to issue its report in about eighteen months.

Among the questions the committee is addressing are:

  • 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.

The committee held a public meeting on February 1 in Washington. APA provided testimony which was prepared by staff of the Science and Public Interest Directorates with input from APA members who conduct research in the area. Clinton Anderson, Director of APA’s Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, delivered the testimony.

Further information about the study and committee membership can be found at the IOM website.