By Malissa Rogers
For the first time in history the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will have a health journal dedicated specifically to raising awareness about LGBT related issues throughout the healthcare industry.
“The LGBT community needs to be able to get good care from all physicians and surgeons and not have to pick their health care professional primarily from members of their own community, with whom they may feel most comfortable,” said Mary Ann Liebert, president and CEO of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
“All patients should be [able to] seek excellence in care, and doctors and nurses have to be fully supportive of any special needs, concerns, or issues.”
LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed medical journal, is due to be published in fall 2013 by Liebert. It will cover special health needs, both physical and mental, that are prevalent among the LGBT community. The focus of the journal is to hone in on specific issues, such as sexual and gender identity that are underrepresented in current medical journals due to a lack of funding opportunities and the stigma that is circumvented by fears of discrimination from the healthcare industry.
“LGBT Health will make a difference. William Byne, M.D., Ph.D, is so knowledgeable and motivated, and he assembled an authoritative editorial board that will submit papers and be part of the peer review process. I hope members of the public who have friends or family members who are members of the LGBT community will encourage their own health care providers to read the journal and deliver the best care without any inappropriate attitudes or reluctance.”
Currently, more than 4 million adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and more than 700,000 people identify as transgender. A recent study released by the Institute of Medicine concluded that the LGBT population’s needs are “poorly understood and likely inadequately met.”
The growth within the U.S. has prompted more than 20 doctors and health professionals to address the ever-growing group of people who may require a physician to be more sensitive to their patient’s health needs.
“LGBT care should be provided by any physician or health care community and the medical profession needs better education and sensitivity. LGBT patients need to be able to communicate their concerns and needs openly and know that their care is as thorough and effective as anyone else's.”
Earlier this year during President Obama’s inaugural address, he spoke about marriage inequality and his plans to move forward in creating equality throughout the U.S.
Liebert views President Obama’s speech as a step in the right direction. “President Obama's words reflected my feelings: I was happy that they were included in his speech,” he said. “He sent a strong message to our nation and the world at large, a message I hope will be acted upon.”
Ultimately, the goals of LGBT Health is to provide greater awareness within the medical industry, specifically for the purpose of driving future research, improving treatment options and patient care, and increasing funding to meet the medical needs of the LGBT community.
“Healthcare must not be judgmental,” Liebert said. “And I strongly believe that this journal will support that belief and that the special problems, concerns and preferences will be respected in regard to therapeutic options. This is very important.”