LGBT+ Inclusion in clinical studies

Last week we explored some of the sex and gender disparities in the realm of clinical studies -- namely those tendencies to exclude cisgender women and transgender men and women in data considerations. These exclusions are dangerous to the reliability and safety of medical research, as disease occurrences and treatment reactions can vary considerably between groups. Along the same vein, it is imperative to understand the way that LGBT+ groups have been historically discriminated against by clinical trial companies.


One 2020 study revealed that despite there being higher recorded substance use disorders in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people, there is little accounting for sexual orientation in substance use research. What’s more, LGBT+ populations are especially likely to experience trauma and develop PTSD symptoms, in addition to minority stress, discrimination and victimization.


These specific ongoing threats to safety and minority stress is often not factored into PTSD intervention treatments. The All of Us research program further examined diversity in clinical studies, and found that typically sexual orientation is not gathered from participants, and that there is not usually an intentional distinction made between sex at birth and gender identity.


Though these tendencies are discouraging, work is being done to improve the diversity and inclusion of clinical studies, for instance this compilation of inclusionary elements and processes by LGBT Health. This body of research is intended to act as a framework for mitigating access barriers to inclusive LGBT clinical research studies.


The most frequently recommended remedy to LGBT exclusion is increased outreach, and education within communities about clinical trial processes and opportunities. In order to create meaningful inclusion, it is important to improve patient communication and use multiple methods of contact to ensure access to underrepresented patients.


We use our world leading Citrus platform to help you create more inclusive research by providing you with outreach and communication tools, as well as actively educating our patient pool to ensure prepared participants.


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