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Am J Public Health. 2001 Jul;91(7):1029-32.

Expanding the research infrastructure for lesbian health.

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Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory, 921 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23284-3065, USA.


Interest in research about lesbian health has increased dramatically since the late 1980s and gained national attention in 1999 when the Institute of Medicine published the groundbreaking report Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future. In March 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services and partner organizations presented the Scientific Workshop on Lesbian Health, during which invited experts on lesbian health worked with federal representatives to develop action steps to implement recommendations in the Institute of Medicine report. National priorities were thus established for the emerging field of lesbian health research. Although researchers of various sexual orientation and gender identities will contribute to this field, lesbian researchers have a unique perspective and an important role to play. This commentary focuses on the preparedness of these individuals to respond to challenges set forth by the Institute of Medicine and Scientific Workshop reports. Despite differences in their academic backgrounds, lesbian researchers have reported common experiences and needs. Substantial proportions have encountered barriers because they were lesbians or conducted lesbian research, and many expressed willingness to mentor others, to help others to conduct research about lesbians, or both.

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