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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Vanderbilt Faculty’s LGBT Research Shows Health Care Insurance Disparities

Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez, assistant professor of health policy, documents research that LGBT couples and their children were less likely to have private health care insurance due to historic barriers associated with adding same-sex partners to employer-sponsored plans. Using data from large federal surveys and quantitative research methods, he conducted numerous studies on health and access to care for LGBT families and same-sex couples.

09.21.16 Vanderbilt’s Gonzales’ LGBT research shows health care insurance disparities

[Photo: Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez]

His publication in JAMA Internal Medicine documented disparities in physical and mental health outcomes between lesbian, gay and bisexual adults and their heterosexual peers. He and his co-authors found high levels of distress in these groups, including heavy alcohol and tobacco use, compared to their heterosexual peers. Dr. Gonzalez and his co-authors hypothesized discriminatory environments and public policies stigmatize LGBT people and engender feelings of rejection and low self-esteem, which in turn can shape their health and health-related behaviors.

“His work sheds a much-needed light on the chronic stress associated with being a member of a marginalized minority population,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “I applaud the potential his work holds for bettering our society.”