A groundbreaking meeting on bisexual health research last week led to the formation of the Bisexual Research Collaborative on Health (BiRCH). Many of the country's leading researchers in bisexual health met on June 26th to discuss the state of research on bisexual health at Boston's Fenway Institute, an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education, and policy development for the medical and mental health care of underserved communities including the LGBT community and those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Never before has there been such a serious focus on bisexual health. In fact, the 2011 Institute of Medicine Report on LGBT Health clearly specified the need for bisexual health research to become a priority in the field. According to Judith Bradford, PhD, Co-Chair of the Fenway Institute and Co-Chair of last week's meeting, "For all of the remarkable progress that has been made in the field of LGBT health, we still simply do not know enough about the full range of health needs and health concerns facing bisexual people." And Dr. Wendy Bostwick, another meeting Co-Chair and researcher on the health of bisexual women, added, "We know that bisexual people make up half of those who identify as LGB and that health inequities are often most pronounced among bisexuals. Yet we are still lacking in funding, research, and interventions aimed at addressing these health disparities. With today’s meeting, we hope to change this landscape.”
The researchers and representatives from bisexual organizations in attendance discussed, among other issues, the need for identifying the unique risk factors that influence bisexual health, how geographic and cultural contexts affect bisexual identities, and the need for evidence-based interventions to address bisexual health disparities. All of this discussion led to their formation of BiRCH, a group that will continue to have these important discussions on a broader level and raise public awareness about bisexual health issues.
Read more at Fenway Focus.