UCSF to Celebrate Release of First Lesbian Health Textbook

The UCSF community is invited to join the Lesbian Health & Research Center (LHRC) on Monday, Feb. 8 for a special symposium to celebrate the release of the first comprehensive lesbian health textbook ever published.

The book titled, “Lesbian Health 101: A Clinician’s Guide,” is edited by LHRC Founding Co-Directors Suzanne Dibble, RN, DNSc, professor emerita in the Institute for Health & Aging, and Patricia Robertson, MD, professor and Endowed Chair in Obstetric and Gynecology Education, and is published by the UCSF School of Nursing Press.

The symposium, which runs from 2 to 5 p.m. in Health Sciences West, room 300, on the UCSF Parnassus campus, will feature many of the chapter authors, leading lesbian researchers and clinicians in their field, who will share their expertise in a panel discussion. An evening reception and book signing will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Lange Room of the Kalmanovitz Library on the Parnassus campus.

Suzanne Dibble

This book represents a milestone in academic medicine as it is the only textbook of its kind to contain the latest research and knowledge about lesbian health, which will be useful to clinicians and students, as well as lesbians themselves. Some health issues for lesbians are different from those of heterosexual women, and clinicians need to be aware of these differences to provide culturally appropriate care to their female patients, at least 5 percent of whom are lesbian.

“It’s thrilling to know that we now have a tool to help educate both clinicians and patients about lesbian health,” says Ellen Haller, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the General Adult Residency Training Program.  “Up until now, even if a patient did tell her clinician that she was a lesbian, there often was a lack of knowledge about her unique health needs.  This comprehensive textbook changes that paradigm of ignorance and lack of information.  Lesbians do have some differences in their health care needs, and ‘Lesbian Health 101’ sets the bar higher so that these women can receive appropriate and informed health care.”

The book also provides insight into women’s health in general, covering a wide range of topics, such as health screenings, substance abuse, reproduction, domestic abuse and disabilities.

Patricia Robertson

Major Achievement

The book is an important achievement for UCSF’s LHRC, which was formed in September 1999 following the release of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that found that additional data is required to determine if lesbians may be at higher risk for certain health problems and that research on lesbian health will help advance scientific knowledge that will benefit other population groups.

The US Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the need to focus on lesbian health in 2000 when it released “‘Healthy people 2010,” a 10-year plan which identified lesbian and gay Americans as one of six groups affected by health disparities.

UCSF’s Institute for Health & Aging and School of Nursing created the LHRC specifically to initiate and support research projects that can be used to educate both providers and lesbians, bisexuals and transgender women on their unique health issues and provide culturally appropriate care and outreach. The center also works to debunk misconceptions about lesbian, bisexual and transgender women’s health.

By leading the way in lesbian health and research, UCSF is realizing its strategic plan, unveiled in June 2007. The plan calls for serving the local, regional and global communities and eliminating health disparities by leveraging UCSF’s research expertise, modeling best practices in clinical care and integrating content on health disparities throughout the continuum of learning.

In addition, UCSF is striving to nurture diversity in part by establishing a campus culture that celebrates the many differences, including sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and gender.

For more information about the “Lesbian Health 101: A Clinician’s Guide,” go here.

Related Links:

National Lesbian Health Summit Brings Together National Thought Leaders
UCSF Today, March 6, 2009

Moving Lesbian Health Research into the Mainstream
Nurturing Diversity website, July 29, 2008

UCSF opens Lesbian Health Research Center
UCSF News Release, January 12, 2000

Landmark textbook aims to improve clinician, consumer understanding of lesbian health
UCSF News Release, February 4, 2000