Understanding Health-Care Needs of Sexual and Gender Minority Veterans: How Targeted Research and Policy Can Improve Health

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Gender and Sexuality | Health Services Administration | Military and Veterans Studies


Given the size of the patient population of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), it is likely the largest single provider of health care for sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals in the United States, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. However, current VHA demographic data-collection strategies limit the understanding of how many SGM veterans there are, thereby making a population-based understanding of the health needs of SGM veterans receiving care in VHA difficult. In this article, we summarize the emergent research findings about SGM veterans and the first initiatives that have been implemented by VHA to promote quality care. Though the research on SGM veterans is in its infancy, it suggests that SGM veterans share some of the health risks noted in veterans generally and also risks associated with SGM status. Some promising resiliency factors have also been identified. These findings have implications for both VHA and non-VHA systems in the treatment of SGM veterans. However, more research on the unique needs of SGM veterans is needed to fully understand their health risks and resiliencies in addition to health-care utilization patterns.


biology and sexual/gender minority status, gender identity, gender variance, LGBT, mental health needs veteran

DOI of Published Version



Kristin M. Mattocks, Michael R. Kauth, Theo Sandfort, Alexis R. Matza, J. Cherry Sullivan, and Jillian C. Shipherd. LGBT Health. March 2014, 1(1): 50-57. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2013.0003.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

LGBT Health

PubMed ID