The Institute of Medicine Report: What It Means For Your Family

posted on Fri, Apr 1 2011 2:29 pm by scarlson

Yesterday a landmark report was issued by the Institute of Medicine identifying a need for better tracking of information relating to the health and wellness of LGBT people. This important report, commissioned by National Institutes for Health (NIH), shows that gender identity and sexual orientation matter when collecting data and their findings have far reaching implications for our families.

LGBT people and families have unique healthcare needs. Currently there is very little data to provide insight to healthcare providers regarding our issues and the little data that does exist is limited mostly to gay and lesbian adults, with almost no comparable data on LGBT Families, trans and bisexual people. Also left out of the current conversation are LGBT youth and the elderly. The report outlines changes to remedy this. Chris Geidner, from Metro Weekly, summarizes their recommendations.

The Institute of Medicine clearly recognizes that accurate and comprehensive information about LGBT families and individuals will lead to better, more informed healthcare that meets our needs.  This joint statement from the National Coalition for LGBT Health and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association explains the report means for us and our families:
“As the self-described ‘adviser to the nation to improve health,’ the IOM is a voice that commands attention. The IOM’s findings and recommendations are a powerful tool for policymakers and advocates working on priorities such as ensuring LGBT inclusion in federally supported health surveys; promoting research to improve the health of LGBT people; addressing the discrimination and associated health disparities that continue to plague the LGBT community, especially LGBT people of color and others who must cope daily with additional sources of discrimination such as racism and sexism; and educating health care providers about the health disparities affecting their LGBT patients."

As part of National LGBT Health Awareness week we encourage you to have a conversation with your family about health and to take steps to share important information with your healthcare provider whenever you can.