Wednesday, July 3, 2013
NIH Listen Session on LGBT Health
Director, The Fenway Institute's Network for LGBT Health Equity
Sometimes you have throwaway days, then sometimes you have really high impact ones, right? Well, today was about as high impact as it gets. I've been nudging NIH to open communications with LGBT researchers for years and today I had the distinct pleasure of being in the room as they launched their first ever LGBT research listening session. Considering that agency has about $40 Billion dollars in research funds, and considering they are easily the leading health research institution in the world, I'd say anytime we get to talk LGBTI health with the top mgmt for an hour and a half is pretty useful. Understand, many LGBTI researchers never even get to speak to these folk once. We got to sit there and yak and yak about what we think they should do on LGBTI health. And we heard there were over a hundred more watching and sending in comments on the videocast.The day held a couple of surprises too. First, they hired a new guy who's in charge of getting more LGBTI staff on board, Albert Smith. Literally his business card reads "LGBTI Program Manager" at NIH. Pretty sweet eh? Since we know how internal champions really move issues, now's the time for us to recruit great new folk to NIH. Second, NIH really showed their true commitment to keeping the information flowing by announcing that they had just released an RFI, or Request For Information. This literally declares it open season for all of us to give our input on LGBTI health research from now til October. See the RFI here.
And of course we all brought up excellent suggestions: invest in career development, data collection, create an office of LGBTI health, do more tobacco research, make sure the program managers are as welcoming as the mgmt wants them to be, do more on Two Spirit, intersex, transgender people. Look at intersectionality more. Put out anal cancer guidelines. If you weren't one of the hundred plus watching online... they'll put the webcast up in a few days, and we'll update with the link.