Anand Kalra, Project HEALTH Program Manager

The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Francis Collins, has issued a new statement about LGBT health research. The statement is a response to a thorough and extensive report from 2011 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that detailed the disparities LGBT people face in accessing healthcare as well as the difficulties in conducting robust biomedical research with LGBT populations. The IOM report included seven key recommendations to promote health among LGBT people, and the NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee has now made responses to each of the recommendations.

So what does this mean for transgender Americans? Since the NIH accounts for more than a quarter of all funding for biomedical research in the United States, a statement of this caliber from the head of the organization likely means an increase in available funding for LGBT health research. The specifics of how much funding will be available at what times and for what specific types of projects remains to be seen.

Right now, we’re celebrating the NIH statement as a victory, and offer a hearty congratulations to our colleagues at the Fenway Institute for their incredible work on the IOM report, and their tireless commitment to transgender health. You can read the Fenway Institute’s response to the NIH statement here.