Information needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered health care professionals: Results of an Internet survey

Charles R. Fikar, Latrina Keith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives: To obtain basic facts and considered opinions from health care professionals and students (nonlibrarian and librarian) about the information needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) health care professionals and their interactions with medical librarians. Methods: The survey instrument was a Web-based questionnaire. A nonrandom sample of health care professionals and students (librarian and nonlibrarian) was obtained by posting messages to several large Internet electronic discussion groups (GLBT and general) and to randomly selected members of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. A total of 152 forms were analyzed with about 50% of the participants being GLBT persons. Results: GLBT people have specific health information needs and concerns. More than 75% of medical librarians and students believed that GLBT persons have special information needs, with similar response rates by nonlibrarian health professionals and students. The delivery of services needs to be done with privacy and respect for the feelings of the patron. Major areas of need include the topics of health care proxy, cancer, adolescent depression and suicide, adoption, sexual health and practices, HIV infection, surrogate parenting, mental health issues, transgender health issues, intimate partner violence, and intimate partner loss. Conclusions: Most GLBT health care professionals desire GLBT-friendly health information services. Making GLBT-oriented health information resources available on a library Web page and making an effort to show acceptance of cultural diversity through signs or displays would be helpful. Education directed toward instilling an awareness of GLBT persons may also be advisable. Most survey participants make some use of medical reference services and many find medical librarians to be very helpful and resourceful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Library and Information Sciences


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