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Am J Public Health. 2001 Jun;91(6):876-82.

Sexual orientation data collection and progress toward Healthy People 2010.

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Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 600 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Without scientifically obtained data and published reports, it is difficult to raise awareness and acquire adequate resources to address the health concerns of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans. The Department of Health and Human Services must recognize gaps in its information systems regarding sexual orientation data and take immediate steps to monitor and eliminate health disparities as delineated in Healthy People 2010. A paper supported by funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation explores these concerns and suggests that the department (1) create work groups to examine the collection of sexual orientation data; (2) create a set of guiding principles to govern the process of selecting standard definitions and measures; (3) recognize that racial/ethnic, immigrant-status, age, socioeconomic, and geographic differences must be taken into account when standard measures of sexual orientation are selected; (4) select a minimum set of standard sexual orientation measures; and (5) develop a long-range strategic plan for the collection of sexual orientation data.

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