Feds Spend $189,186 to Study Transgender Mortality Using VA Medical Records

By Melanie Arter | December 19, 2014 | 11:31 AM EST

Patricia Harrington, left, a transgender female, and Marco Wylie, a transgender male, testify at a New York City Council hearing in favor of legislation making it easier for transgender people to change the sex on their birth certificates, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded $189,186 in taxpayer dollars to Emory University to study the mortality of transgendered people, using electronic medical records for people who receive care from the Veterans Affairs Administration.

“The purpose of this study is to determine whether transgender persons defined as those who medically change the gender assigned to them at birth (male to female or female to male) have higher or lower risk of death and certain diseases than men and women that do not consider themselves transgender,” the grant said.

Participants will be selected from electronic medical records of two large health care systems – the Veterans Affairs Administration (nationally) and Kaiser Permanente (in Georgia and northern California).

“Members of the transgender community and health care providers caring for transgender individuals express concerns about mental and physical health problems in this population; however longitudinal studies of transgender populations in the US have not been conducted,” the grant said.

The goal of the project is to “develop a longitudinal cohort study of the short- and long-term health outcomes among individuals who underwent hormonal and/or surgical gender reassignment interventions.”

The study will “likely be the largest cohort of transgender individuals available to date, and the first study of its kind conducted in the United States.”

CNSNews.com contacted Michael Goodman, project leader for the grant, by email to inquire why the grant is an effective use of taxpayer funds, but no response was given by press time.

The project started on Aug. 1, 2013 and is projected to end on May 31, 2015. The budget start date was June 1, 2014 and ends on May 31, 2015.

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