June 26, 2015 — The University of California-San Francisco on Thursday launched a study to develop the largest database of mental, physical and social issues affecting LGBT individuals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the Chronicle, the Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality, or PRIDE, study aims to identify health issues among LGBT individuals and create strategies to respond to some of those concerns.
Participants can use either an iPhone app or the PRIDE study website to provide health and demographic information for the study. According to the Chronicle, participants could begin registering for the study on Thursday.
During the first six to nine months of the study, participants will suggest areas of research and best practices for gathering health data from LBGT individuals. Juno Obedin-Maliver, study co-director and an ob-gyn at UCSF, said that participants might select areas of research that researchers could otherwise overlook.
Mitchell Lunn, study co-director and a nephrologist at UCSF, said, "Ideally we would like to get tens of thousands of participants and follow people for decades, something like 30 years." He added, "The goal is to figure out how being a sexual or gender minority influences physical or mental health."
Lunn and Obedin-Maliver said the study could address the dearth of information on LGBT health issues.
The Institute of Medicine in 2011 recommended more targeted study of LGBT health, noting a "scarcity of research." Industry experts have noted that the medical community historically has not expressed interest in LGBT health issues. For example, according to the Chronicle, gender and sexual orientation usually are not examined in large clinical studies, and no large trials with only LGBT participants have been implemented. Obedin-Maliver also noted that the lack of such research could stem from LGBT individuals' concern that health care providers will discriminate against them or dismiss their concerns.
Liz Margolies -- executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network in New York, who was not involved in the study -- said health data specific to LGBT individuals "really matters." For example, she noted that "we know that white women are far more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer and black women are more likely to die from it. But we know nothing about lesbians" (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25).