Healthy People 2020 Released, Includes LGBT Health
Healthy People is a kind of national health goal-setting process, in which objectives are defined for the next 10 years on things like reducing the rate of death from certain cancers, reducing the rate of hypertension, and so on. It’s a way of saying, “here’s what we think is important for the nation in terms of improving overall health, here’s where we are now, and here’s where we hope to be in 10 years.” It’s something to design and fund programs around, and outlines some clear goals for public health improvement.
For example, one maternal health objective for Healthy People 2020 is to reduce the cesarean rate among low-risk women with a prior cesarean by 10%, from 90.8% (the 2007 baseline rate) to 81.7%. [The HP2010 objective had been to reduce the same measure from 72% (in 1998) to 63% by 2010 – the cesarean rate has been climbing since the HP2010 goals were set, so we’re starting from a higher baseline this time]
The new Healthy People 2020 includes a new section on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, acknowledging:
Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders,1 substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBT individuals, and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals… Eliminating LGBT health disparities and enhancing efforts to improve LGBT health are necessary to ensure that LGBT individuals can lead long, healthy lives.
I think it’s great that this topic has been designated as an issue people need to actually pay attention to. I’m not seeing clear objectives outlined for this topic area yet, but the topic page does outline health issues and disparities of concern. It’s possible that the objectives for this area have not been finalized yet, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
Note: I have a federal contract to generate PubMed search strategies for two HP2020 topic areas, although LGBT health is not among them.