Sebelius: 'Add LGBT Questions to Our National Health Surveys ... In Multiple Languages'

By Fred Lucas | May 22, 2012 | 2:46pm EDT

( – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the government is working on including more questions about the health concerns of the LGBT community. The National Health Survey questions will be in multiple languages to “drill down on what are the specific health needs around the LGBT community.”

Students with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Global Health at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, interviewed Sebelius on LGBT health and non-communicable diseases. The video of the interview was posted May 21.

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“One of the important things is to add LGBT questions to our National Health Surveys. And that’s underway right now,” Sebelius said. “It’s a two step process because part of the new issue is how best to ask questions so we get accurate information and how best to ask them in multiple languages.”

The secretary said the questions asked to homosexuals in English are successful, but the survey is not having as much luck in Spanish questions.

“We found that the language we’re using works pretty well in English. It doesn’t work so well yet in Spanish,” Sebelius said. “And in order to add these questions to National Health Surveys, we’ve got to make sure that the language actually elicits appropriate responses.

“Part of that will then be, we will then be able to drill down on what are the specifics health needs around the LGBT community,” Sebelius said. “Right now it’s pretty anecdotal. So that’s going to be a huge step forward. Once the questions are part of the national health surveys, they will never go away again. So we want to get it right.”

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