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Monday, October 10, 2011
2:00 pm EDT
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  • Kellan Baker, Center for American Progress
  • Ignatius Bau, Health Policy Consultant
  • Judith Bradford, Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, Fenway Health
  • Daniel Gould, California LGBT Health and Human Services Network
  • Irfan Hasan, The New York Community Trust


This audioconference highlighted recent developments in identifying and reducing health disparities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. For example, in April 2010, the President issued a Memorandum directing the Department of Health and Human Services to issue regulations ensuring equal hospital visitation and advance directives policies for LGBT patients and their families. Last December’s launch of Healthy People 2020 explicitly included the LGBT population as a disparities population. The Institute of Medicine’s groundbreaking report on gaps and opportunities in LGBT health research, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, was issued in March 2011. And in April 2011, the Secretary of Health and Human Services outlined new and existing LGBT-focused initiatives across a broad range of the department’s activities, and the continuation of a senior level department work group on LGBT issues.

Despite these recent reports and activities on LGBT health issues, the IOM report emphasizes that many fundamental areas of knowledge about LGBT health remain unexplored, especially for bisexual and transgender populations, for LGBT individuals who are also members of racial and ethnic minorities or of other groups affected by health disparities, and for LGBT individuals across the life course.

The audioconference also examined some of the opportunities that national health care reform provides to advance knowledge, awareness, and skills to appropriately address LGBT health disparities in all health care settings. These opportunities include ensuring equal access to new health insurance products offered through state health insurance exchanges, standardized data collection and analyses regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, support for LGBT patient and community engagement, cultural competency training on LGBT issues for all health care providers, recruitment of LGBT health professions students, and support for LGBT health care providers and researchers.

Finally, the audioconference explored strategies for funders to consider that could leverage the increased attention that is being focused on issues of LBGT health disparities.

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