There's An IPhone App For LGBTQ Health Says PRIDE Researchers

Posted: Jun 28 2015, 3:38pm CDT | by , in Technology News


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There's an iPhone App for LGBTQ health says PRIDE researchers
Credit: The Pride Study
  • Underrepresented minorities.
  • Smartphone data collection.
  • Participants already lined up.

A new study by PRIDE researchers looks to answer questions about the health of the LGBTQ community. First of its kind, the idea is to represent all members in targeted questions over a long-period of time.

The PRIDE Study is looking to take on the long-term effects of health within the LGBTQ community. And it's available on an iPhone app. Working the University of California San Francisco, the goal is to follow participants over several years, possibly decades, through electronic devices and find better solutions for underrepresented minorities in the field. This will include bisexuality and transgender identities, which are often marginalized and ignored in studies.

According to the official site, "LGBTQ people continue to face unique health and healthcare disparities that stem from discrimination, stigma, and a lack of information about how our identities affect our health." Without any connection of gender identity or sexual orientation, pieces of the community puzzle are left missing. This study intends to show the rates through long-term participants without singling any one user out.

The study is hoping to open up information about rates of disease like HIV/AIDS, cancer, obesity, and depression while observing the long-term effects of those living with the illness.

PRIDE is short for “Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality" and the study will hopefully "better understand how sexual orientation and gender identity affects health and how to promote health and combat disease." All information will remain confidential and abides by United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines. And all participants must be over 18 years of age. As of right now, over 600 participants are already pre-enrolled.

In a press release, the directors offer a framework of what to expect in the building and implementation. First will be the “listening phase,” where the community opens up and discusses what is most needed. The second phase will involve targeted questions, highlighting the lack of representation in national studies for majority of health participants.

Funds for the project are collected through individual and organization donations. Inclusive in the information is the fact the physician-researchers identify in the sexual and gender minorities category, like those offering data.

“LGBTQ people continue to face significant health issues stemming from discrimination, stigma, and a lack of information about how our identities affect our health. We hope this study, which will be designed with significant input from the LGBTQ community itself, will change all that,” co-director Mitch Lunn told the Times Gazette.

As profiles continuously build for each user, data will be collected and presented once a year. However, online access is not necessary, either. The study includes access through Twilio (text messaging), SendGrid (email), SmartyStreets (United States Postal Service mailing address verification), and Qualtrics (survey administration), which is then streamlined into an online management system.

And what are some of the questions needing answers? According to the Gazette and co-director Juno Obedin-Maliver, “Lesbian women are twice as likely to be obese than straight women, and we don’t know why.”

Plus, knowledge is powerful prevention.

“That makes lesbian women susceptible to all kinds of health risks. It’s the mission of The PRIDE Study to research and get to the bottom of these kinds of LGBTQ health issues, and The PRIDE Study iPhone app will give us access to a much wider population than previously possible.”

Why choose Apple, though? The ResearchKit provided by the computer giant helps studies easily navigate specific problems and a need for solution through accessible tech. In one case, Apple users were able to measure blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. But she also wanted to make it clear Apple is not sponsoring the study.

“We are excited to use this technology and share the study’s outcomes, but we have no partnership, financial or data transfer arrangements with Apple.”

Due to the lack of medical care in many areas, the PRIDE study wants to target places that need more coverage and attention. Presented during Pride Weekend in San Francisco, the team hopes to gather a lot of participants to help diverse community voices be heard. And fear not, non-Apple users: a web interface website will be coming soon.

“The current landscape for LGBTQ health is less of a map and more of a signpost in the desert. We aim to create that map,” declared Obedin-Maliver.

Mitchell (Mitch) R. Lunn, MD and Juno Obedin-Maliver, MD, MPH are the co-directors of the project, serving the LGBTQ community for over 15 years and studying for over a decade. Obein-Maliver works with female veterans, both cis and trans, through social justice and medical inclusion. Lunn focuses on inclusion by lecturing and providing feedback for medical communities around the country for physicians to follow.

For more information about the study and possibly participate, please visit

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