LGBTQIA+ Equity in Human Subjects Research Review: Acknowledging the Whole Research Participant

To advance justice, equity and improve health outcomes, we must ensure research representation throughout the scientific enterprise. With that essential goal in mind, during Pride Month, PRIM&R recognizes the importance of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual/aromantic/agender) community in research. 

In a recent interview for the PRIM&R Member Newsletter, Amy Ben-Arieh, JD, MPH, the Director of Research Compliance at The Fenway Institute (TFI) at Fenway Community Health, discussed the importance of LGBTQIA+ equity in research.  

“LGBTQIA+ equity in research is hugely important because there is currently a large gap in our LGBTQIA+ health disparities knowledge… Historically, there have been barriers to healthcare, discrimination, and minority stress and trauma within the LGBTQIA+ community, which has led to these health disparities. There are no biological or physiological differences between LGBTQIA+ people and their heterosexual/cisgender counterparts, rather, the disparities are caused by a combination of economic and social factors.” 

More work needs to be done to develop strategies that promote inclusivity for reviewing LGBTQIA+-specific research, and the unique ethical considerations for research with LGBTQIA+ populations—particularly for children and youth.   

PRIM&R’s learning module, “LGBTQIA+ Equity in Human Subjects Research Review: Acknowledging the Whole Research Participant,” focuses on LGBTQIA+ equity in human subjects research. This innovative learning module is available to anyone either as a standalone learning opportunity, or as a supplementary module for EROC institutional subscribers. The module is an effective self-paced learning experience for HRPP/IRB personnel and those working in research programs more broadly, including HRPP/IRB directors, members, chairs, researchers, and research staff. 

In this module, PRIM&R is pleased to have Amy Ben-Arieh explain LGBTQIA+ health disparities and the importance of leveraging community strengths. 

People completing PRIM&R’s learning module will explore how inclusive research data collection methods and pragmatic strategies for IRBs adopt a more equitable lens in research ethics review. The module will explain commonly used acronyms and terms; the importance of sex, gender, and sexuality as health variables; describe inclusive research data collection methods; and describe inclusive strategies for reviewing biomedical and social/behavioral research studies. 

Foster an inclusive and equitable human subjects research environment by equipping yourself with the tools needed to ensure ethical research practices that respect and protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Science is essential to the health and well-being of humans, non-human animals, and the environment. At PRIM&R we believe that everyone must have fair and equitable access to the benefits of science. For more resources on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in research, visit our webpage.