Obama administration announces initiatives to help end health disparities affecting LGBT people

April 02, 2011

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, April 1 — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced a series of actions designed to improve the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The changes are in response to an April 2010 request from President Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for suggestions on how HHS could improve the lives of LGBT people.

The new initiatives will help address the many health disparities facing the LGBT community and explicitly extend nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity covering HHS programs. The changes will also include Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines for ways in which the states can expand benefits for LGBT families in existing programs, and an annual report from an HHS committee on LGBT health issues.

HHS also announced plans for a number of additional initiatives aimed at addressing LGBT health disparities. The key objectives include providing information on LGBT health issues like domestic partner benefits on the government’s health care reform website; increasing the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data on federal health-related surveys; fostering the development of more culturally-based guidelines for health professionals and organizations to better serve the LGBT community, particularly young people; and recognizing the LGBT community as an underserved population to address the many health inequities faced by LGBT people due to lack of programs.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The initiatives announced today by HHS mark important steps toward closing the huge health disparity gap experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families. These changes are greatly needed and much welcomed. As we come to the close of National LGBT Health Awareness Week, this announcement is also a reminder of the work still left to be done to ensure the health needs of LGBT people are not ignored and overlooked. We thank the federal government for being a partner in this effort and look forward to our continued work with the Obama administration and HHS in addressing this critical issue.”

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.