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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Lesbian and Bisexual Women's Health and Wellbeing Study

Outline and Rationale

The health needs and experiences of lesbian and bisexual women have, to date, been largely unrecognised in WA. There have been limited studies about lesbian and bisexual women conducted in other parts of Australia, the UK and North America; however none have been conducted in Western Australia. The vast majority of this research has concentrated on health issues. They have not included important social and community engagement questions that would support health promotion interventions to effectively engage with L&B women. There have been a number of smaller studies by the community, and these have played an important role over the years in building the momentum for this large study.

The study will provide valuable information on how and where to reorient current services and programs provided by mainstream organisations, such as the Cancer Council and Family Planning WA. It will also provide lesbian and gay community organisations such as the Freedom Centre and Gay and Lesbian Community Services with important information. It is hoped that this will lead to services that more effectively meet the needs of lesbian and bisexual women in the State.

Parts of the study will be conducted in parallel with the 2006 Gay Men's survey, which will allow for significant cost savings and enhanced community awareness of the research.

Benefits

  • The project will collect data from marginalised minority group on issues and risk factors relevant to priority health areas. As indicated in the literature review, many of the priority areas and risk factors outlined in Healthway's current strategic plan are health conditions for which lesbian and bisexual women are at greater risk than women in general.
  • The findings of the research will contribute to improving health promotion by agencies such as Cancer Council and National Heart Foundation, as well as gay and lesbian community organisations, enabling them to respond more appropriately to this population. The research will make an important contribution to their capacity to design and test interventions that better target lesbian and bisexual women.
  • The development of partnerships between health promotion agencies and gay and lesbian community groups to more effectively target lesbian and bisexual women. By developing such partnerships the skills and resources of communities would be increased to promote healthy behaviours while at the same time empowering individuals to make better-informed decisions.

Funding

  • Healthway

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