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Statistical Recognition: Count Us In!

The U.S. Health & Human Services Department is going to begin collecting health date on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender populations so it will be able to see, concretely, disparities in health care.

“We’ve known all along that our communities are being underserved,” says Ann J. Robison, PhD, Executive Director of Montrose Counseling Center, “but finally we’ll have some evidence to back it up.” Without this data collection, GLBT service providers like MCC have relied primarily on research studies with small, segmented, or regional samples. “In some cases, we are quoting data that was collected twenty years ago because there’s been nobody and no money to follow up on the studies we do have,” says Robison.

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, questions on sexual orientation and gender identity will be integrated into national data collection efforts by 2013. First, the department is trying to make sure that it is asking the right questions. The answers may then be considered in the National Health Interview Survey. The government is asking for comments for the draft minority data collections standards. The deadline to submit your comments is August 1.

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