Increased Understanding of LGBT Health Challenges Will Lead to More Informed Care

National Health Interview Survey 2013 Includes Questions Related to LGBT Community

06.27.13 | By Josephine Martin

As communities across the country celebrate June as National LGBT Pride Month, it is important to acknowledge the unique health challenges facing the LGBT community. In an effort to better understand and address these challenges, the National Health Interview Survey for 2013 will include questions specifically related to the LGBT population. 

Conducted annually by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Health Interview Survey is a cross-sectional survey representative of the U.S. population. It has long collected and analyzed data regarding health disparities among men and women, ethnic groups and socio-economic status, but has not previously addressed possible barriers to care related to sexual orientation or gender identity. By including this information in the study, doctors and researchers can begin to develop a better understanding of the major health issues facing the LGBT community and how best to address them.

Once the data are collected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health care professionals and researchers will be able to analyze trends in LGBT health including health disparities, insurance coverage, utilization of health services and mental health. Without the survey’s new data, health care providers may not be able to allocate resources as effectively when treating LGBT patients.

In collecting these data, there are sensitivities that must be acknowledged. In addition to demographic questions included in this study such as race or ethnicity, HHS will ask participants about their gender identity, sexual orientation and relationship status to help health care providers deliver the most comprehensive and effective care to patients.

We at PhRMA are committed to developing effective treatments for all Americans, and having reliable annual data will enable us to better understand LGBT health. PhRMA is also pleased to announce that we recently partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) to support their work on LGBT health, data collection and health equality.

We look forward to working with the LGBT community to better understand the health challenges patients face and to utilize the insights leaned from the National Health Interview Survey to address those challenges.





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