About us - Frequently Asked Questions
Getting to know the LHRC
People often have questions about who we are and what we do. Below is a list of some of the most common questions. If you don't find your answers here, feel free to email us: email@example.com.
- What is the Lesbian Health Research Center?
- What is the Mission Statement of LHRC?
are the goals of LHRC?
- How does lesbian health differ from women’s health in general?
- Why is study of lesbian health needed?
- Why is lesbian health research needed?
- What types of topics or health issues does LHRC research address?
- How does LHRC conduct research and address its goals?
- How does LHRC evaluate its programs and services?
- Who founded LHRC?
- Where is LHRC located?
- How does UCSF support LHRC?
- What are the major programs of LHRC?
- What is the LHRC web site and what does it provide?
- What is the annual conference hosted by LHRC?
- What types of periodic events does LHRC conduct?
- What is LHRC’s
commitment to public service?
is a Lesbian?
- What is the contact information for LHRC?
What is the Lesbian Health Research Center?
The Lesbian Health Research Center (LHRC) is specifically and uniquely
concerned with the health and well-being of lesbians, bisexual women,
transgender individuals, and their families, and with the health
care available to them.
What is the Mission Statement of LHRC?
The mission of the LHRC is to enhance clinical practice and inform
policy about the health care needs of and delivery of services to
lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender individuals through a
program of research, postgraduate education and training, and public
service through education.
What are the goals of LHRC?
A principal goal of the Center is to serve as an ongoing forum for
bringing together health care researchers and concerned members of
the lesbian, bisexual women’s, and transgender communities.
How does lesbian health differ from women’s health in general?
The health concerns of lesbians are known to differ from those of heterosexual women in several key areas. While some studies have already addresses these, additional research is needed:
* Access to health care without fear of stigmatization
* Access to abortion and family planning care
* Substance abuse
* Depression / mental health
* Stress / family acceptance
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Body Mass Index (BMI) education
* Transgender health-related care and information
Why is study of lesbian health needed?
Access to non-judgmental health care in a safe and
comfortable setting is a significant barrier faced
by lesbians. Lesbians are known to face particular
challenges in areas including parenting, breast health,
frequency of care, body mass, substance abuse, and
family support systems for elders and others.
Why is lesbian health research needed?
The health care status and needs of lesbians, bisexual women,
and transgendered individuals remain largely unstudied by researchers
of women’s health and aging. As a consequence, little
research-based information exists to direct the practices of
health care providers that serve these populations, and the knowledge
and skills necessary to adequately serve them are lacking.
1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark
report, Lesbian Health:Current Assessment and Directions
for the Future. The report indicated several important reasons
for directing attention to lesbian health issues:
“To gain knowledge to improve the health status and health care of lesbians.Lesbians share many health risks and experiences in the health care system with
women in general. For lesbians' health care to be both cost-effective and appropriate,
the scope of their health problems must be better understood. Knowledge of areas
in which the health of lesbians differs from that of other women may provide
insights to improve the health of all women.
To confirm beliefs and to counter misconceptions about the health risks
of lesbians. In the face of little empirical information, there are
numerous beliefs, myths, and misconceptions about the health risks of lesbians
that can affect their health
outcomes. These beliefs are often shared both by health care providers and by
lesbians themselves. Some of these beliefs may be true; others are not. These
beliefs include perceptions that lesbians do not need regular Pap tests or routine
gynecological care, that they do not contract HIV/AIDS, and that there is an
epidemic of breast cancer in the lesbian community.
To identify health conditions for which lesbians are at risk or tend
to be at
greater risk than heterosexual women or women in general. A large body of epidemiological
research has identified factors that place people at risk for health and mental
health problems, with gender differences existing for many of these risk factors.
However, because information about subjects' sexual preferences has not been
collected in these studies, it is not possible to determine whether the lesbians
who presumably are included in the samples differed from or were like other women
with respect to these risk factors. In fact, some factors assumed to place women
at risk for or to protect them against health disorders might not be present
at the same levels or operate in the same ways for lesbians. In addition to facing
many of the same stressors as heterosexual women, women who self-identify as
lesbian may also experience stressors not commonly faced by heterosexual women,
such as "stigmatization" both within and outside the health care setting.
It is important to identify and understand those factors that are unique to lesbians
and their impact on health”.
Solarz, A (Ed.), 1999. Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions
the Future. New York: NAP. Executive Summary.
What types of topics or health issues does LHRC research address?
Among those addressed in on-going or future studies are the
following: access to health care, aging, breast cancer incidence
coming out process, HIV transmission, complementary therapies,
cultural effects of stigmatization, depression, parenting and
family planning, family acceptance, marginalization of lesbians
and transgender health needs.
How does LHRC conduct research and address its goals?
Drawing upon the research skills and experiences of a multidisciplinary
group of UCSF faculty members and other nationally recognized
scholars from across the United States, the Center’s
work reflects a broad vision of health, illness, and
to forging strong collaborations with community groups.
How does LHRC evaluate its programs and services?
LHRC uses both formal and informal means to attain feedback
and evaluation. Tracking of contacts and inquiries include
those by telephone, e-mail, web site, regular mail and appointments.
Requests for information and referral are received regularly. Participants
in programs including conferences and seminars complete
formal evaluation forms.
Who founded LHRC?
LHRC was founded by current co-director Suzanne Dibble,
DNSc, RN and Dixie Horning, Executive Director of the
for Excellence in Women’s Health.
Where is LHRC located?
LHRC is located within the Institute for Health & Aging
(IHA), School of Nursing, University of California, San
Francisco, and advances directly the Institute’s
goals of serving women across the life span, and providing
research data for making public policy decisions, improving
public education, and facilitating community interventions. LHRC
is also affiliated with the UCSF National Center of Excellence
(CoE) in Women’s
Health and is a collaborative partner of the UCSF Center
for Gender Equity (CGE).
How does UCSF support LHRC?
LHRC is an official center of the university which provides
facility space and administrative over site. UCSF
does not provide funding for staff of LHRC or for research
and the educational
services that LHRC provides.
What are the major programs of LHRC?
The Center sponsors an interactive web site http://www.lesbianhealthinfo.org,
an annual conference, information and referral service,
Community Health Talks, and on-going co-sponsored
What is the LHRC web site and what does it provide?
LHRC’s web site, http://www.lesbianhealthinfo.org,
includes information about LBTQ health in specialized
sections for the general audience, health care providers,
and others. The
site also includes reports from conferences and events,
articles, links to related sites, news releases, contact
and how to support the work of LHRC.
What is the annual conference hosted by LHRC?
The Center co-sponsors and hosts the annual Lesbian Health
Research Conference each year. The conference brings
together interested members of the public and lesbian
community, health care providers, practitioners, researchers
leaders for a one-day conference addressing selected
topics in LBT health.
What types of periodic events does LHRC conduct?
LHRC hosts workshops and presentations in conjunction with
conferences and meetings of health-related organizations
and community groups. Topics are tailored to the needs and interest of the particular audience. Among these have been those co-sponsored with the American Psychological Association, Gay & Lesbian
Medical Association, San Francisco LGBT Community Center,
Bay Area Community of Women and numerous others.
What is LHRC’s commitment to public service?
LHRC is committed to serving the public interest by disseminating
information about lesbian health issues to the
public, the press, community leaders, activists and the
of the San Francisco Bay Area, throughout the US and
in other nations. LHRC is known nationally as a resource
and services about lesbian health.
What is a Lesbian?
lesbian is one of the oldest terms to describe a woman who
forms her primary loving and sexual relationships with other
women; a woman whose sexual orientation
is to people of the same sex. In general, sexual orientation is most often described
as including behavioral, affective (i.e., desire or attraction), and cognitive
(i.e., identity) dimensions that occur along continua (Laumann et al., 1994).
A woman may have sex with another woman but not identify as a lesbian or a woman
may not have sex with anyone, but identify as a lesbian. There is also a generational
difference in terms with younger women whose sexual orientation is to people
of the same sex calling themselves “queer” and older women reporting
that they are “gay women”. Lesbians are commonly grouped with gay
men, bisexual men and women, and transgender people, and those groups are then
collectively described as a single “LGBT” or “GLBT” population.
the census does not ask sexual orientation as a demographic
category, the number of lesbians in the United
States is unknown. Estimates depend on how you define the
term. If you only define the term as women whose only sexual
partners in her lifetime were other women, then you would
miss approximately 74% of women who identify as lesbians
(Dibble, et al, 2004). Using only those who define themselves
as lesbian (1.4% from Laumann et al., 1994) and the estimate
that there are approximately 149,117,996 females in the
United States as of July 2004, one can conclude that there
are over 2 million lesbians (2,087,652) in the United States
today. The accuracy of this conclusion is probably doubtful,
but it gives us a place to start. The United States Census
does count same-sex couples residing together, although
in an oblique way: The form asks the sex and relationship
to the "main householder." Using this process,
approximately 320,000 same sex female couples were counted.
Less than 1% of counties in the nation counted no same-sex
couples in the most recent census.
EO, Gagnon JH, Michael RT, & Michaels S (1994).
The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices
in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
S, Roberts, S, & Nussey, B (2004). Comparing
breast cancer risk between lesbians and their heterosexual
sisters. Women’s Health Issues, 14(2), 60-68.
What is the contact information for LHRC?
Lesbian Health Research Center
University of California, San Francisco
Laurel Heights Campus
3333 California Street, Suite 340
San Francisco, CA 94118