A University of California, San Francisco research team is working on what could turn out to be the largest national study of LGBT health ever, and it’s using an iPhone app based on Apple’s new ResearchKit software framework to do it.

Smartphone technology from Apple’s got the nod over other companies partly because of CEO Tim Cook’s support for the gay community. Cook, in a Bloomberg Businessweek article last October, said he was “proud to be gay”.

Mitchell Lunn, co-director of the PRIDE Study and a clinical research fellow at UCSF, speaking to BuzzFeed News, said:

“The main question there is, what is the relationship between being LGBTQ — or more broadly a sexual or gender minority person — and mental and physical health?”

The new medical study, called the Pride Study, will additionally solicit suggestions for LGBT health topics that it should take up. The UCSF researchers will then compile a list of survey questions. Why the need to an LGBTQ study?

As a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies stated:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have unique health experiences and needs, but as a nation, we do not know exactly what these experiences and needs are. To advance understanding of the health needs of all LGBT individuals, researchers need more data about the demographics of these populations, improved methods for collecting and analyzing data, and an increased participation of sexual and gender minorities in research. Building a more solid evidence base for LGBT health concerns will not only benefit LGBT individuals, but also add to the repository of health information we have that pertains to all people."

The Pride Study will be the first large-scale, longitudinal cohort health study of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), or another sexual or gender minority.


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