April 4, 2011

Statement by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on the Institute of Medicine report addressing state of the science on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations

“I want to thank the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for conducting this important study on the state of the science on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations. This report, which was done at the request of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the first comprehensive overview of health-related research in this area. The report makes it clear that there are significant gaps in our understanding of the health issues confronting LGBT people. Effective methods for systematic collection of data from research participants about sexual orientation or gender identity are needed, and are not currently available. In response, NIH will collaborate with the National Center for Health Statistics, a component of CDC, to address and improve the methodology for collecting survey data on sexual orientation and gender identity. I have asked the NIH LGBT research coordinating committee to consider the report’s recommendations carefully, and to suggest strategies for how the NIH Institutes and Centers can support research to generate the knowledge base needed to promote the health of the LGBT community. NIH is committed to research that will benefit and improve the health of all people. Therefore, we appreciate this thoughtful report with its clear delineation of areas where there is inadequate data."

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health