The Institute of Medicine has released a ground-breaking report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.   The report was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and recommends the collection of standardized data on sexual orientation and gender identity in health surveys administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federally funded surveys.  The report also specifically recommends requiring the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data in electronic health records.

In response to the original request from NIH, the report recommends additional research and support from NIH on developing standardized questions to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, sampling methods to conduct valid research on small populations, and comprehensive training to raise awareness among health researchers about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health issues.

The report notes that while lesbian, gay,  bisexual, and transgender individuals are often categorized together, that each is a distinct population with its own specific health needs, and that their experiences are also shaped by factors of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and age.  Accordingly, the committee recommends that future research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health be guided by concepts of minority stress and stigmatization, life course, intersectionality of multiple identities, and social ecology (influence of family, community and society).

The full report, background information and testimonies considered by the study committee are available on the Institute of Medicine website.

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