Continuation of: Brain Banking
It seems to me you are saying that the Netherlands has more resources to research gender identity. This obviously isn't due to their higher GDP, so this calls out obvious discrimination. Is NIH, HHS, and the Obama administration saying it would be better for members of the transgender community to live and die in the Netherlands until the U.S. can muster equality? Why can't NIH even address possible agreements with the Netherlands Brain Bank?
Alena E Neumann
1780 130th Ave NE
Blaine, MN 55449
p: (415) 424-4967
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From: Kaucher, Christine (NIH/NIMH) [E] [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 8:36 AM
Subject: RE: Brain Banking
Thank you for your e-mail to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
We appreciate the challenges for people with Gender Identity Disorder in getting the treatment they seek, but all of the U.S. brain banks that we are aware of only accept brain tissue from people with diagnosed major mental disorders. One of the challenges is getting a large enough number of donors to make it statistically powerful enough to do research. Banking tissues is very expensive and so resources have to be alotted where there is the best chance of collecting from enough donors to have statistically meaningful data. Gender Identify Disorder is an important area of research, but historically it has been difficult to attract large numbers of donors.
Regarding the health of people along the continuum of Gender Identity Disorder and those identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, the Department of Health and Human Services has begun efforts to improve data gathering about the health of LGBT individuals, in response to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on LGBT health. The IOM report was commissioned by NIH and can be found at http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/The-Health-of-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-and-Transgender-People.aspx. While we have a long way to go until data-gathering is up-to-speed and includes all relevant areas, such as the one you are concerned about, the effort has begun to recognize and address health disparities in this population. NIMH and NIH are also aware that there are individuals in categories beyond those named, as well as those who are questioning. You may be interested in recent announcements by the White House and HHS about these issues. Links to these announcements are below.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Recommended Actions to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities
LGBT Pride Month at The White House
Improving Data Collection for the LGBT Community
While we are aware that this does not directly address your concerns, we hope that these efforts will result in more health care attention paid to these issues, and more help becoming available. We hope this information is helpful.
Christine Kaucher Cooper
Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 8184
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663