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Henry Ford Health System Launches Collaborative to Enhance Research on Healthcare Needs of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

April 12, 2017

DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System recently launched a collaborative with Ruth Ellis Center, Affirmations, and the Trans Sistas of Color Project to enhance research aimed at addressing the specific healthcare needs of sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth.

Supported by a funding award from the Eugene Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Awards program, the Rainbow Collaborative will comprise SGM youth patients, families, community stakeholders and researchers in Detroit. Ruth Ellis Center, Affirmations, and the Trans Sistas of Color Project will support the Rainbow Collaborative by recruiting participants.

“Sexual and gender minority youth have specific needs that the healthcare community is only beginning to understand. Research has shown correlations between sexual and gender minority status and depression, suicide attempts, bullying, illicit drug use, and increased rates of HIV,” said Henry Ford pediatrician and Rainbow Collaborative lead Maureen Connolly, M.D. “Any effort to develop and study interventions aimed at addressing the health needs of sexual and gender minority youth must be grounded in the lived experiences of these young people, and relevant to their health concerns.”

The Rainbow Collaborative will create a forum, in which the input of SGM youth is prioritized. The forum will meet on a bi-monthly basis. Development of a research agenda will take place in stages, and will be facilitated by SGM youth community leaders to maximize patient and stakeholder input.

The Rainbow Collaborative is part of a portfolio of projects that PCORI has funded to help develop a community of patients and other healthcare stakeholders who have the knowledge, skills and partnerships to participate in and advance patient-centered outcomes research and patient-centered comparative effectiveness research.

“This project was selected for PCORI Engagement Award funding for its commitment to improving the capacity for patients and other stakeholders to engage in patient-centered research and its potential to increase the usefulness and trustworthiness of the research PCORI funds,” said PCORI Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer Jean Slutsky. “We look forward to following the project’s progress and working with Henry Ford Health System to share the results.”

Upon completion of the project, a community symposium will be held to share results of the developed research agenda. The Rainbow Collaborative will create a strategic plan to disseminate the information further and execute future comparative effectiveness research to benefit the SGM youth population.

To learn more about the Rainbow Collaborative, please contact Dr. Connolly at mconnol1@hfhs.org. For more information about PCORI’s funding to support engagement efforts, visit pcori.org/content/eugene-washington-pcori-engagement-awards/.  


Jeff Adkins