Frequently Asked Questions

What is the EQUALITY study? 

The EQUALITY study aims to develop a patient-centered method to enquire about an individual patient’s sexual orientation and gender identity in an emergency department setting.


Why is the EQUALITY study being done? 

The sensitive and routine collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information enables the physician to treat the whole patient.  It also empowers patients to discuss with their provider the context of their needs, preferences, values and relationship status to any visitors in a safe and comfortable environment.  


Will the EQUALITY study help patients? 

Lack of data on sexual orientation and gender identity is a major challenge to understanding and addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health disparities. 

The current failure of hospitals to routinely collect sexual orientation and gender identity information ultimately contributes to the effective invisibility of LGBT patients within the health care system, both as individuals seeking care and as a key disparities population.  In other words, the old adage still applies: “If you are not counted, you don’t count.” 


Who is funding the EQUALITY study? 

The study is funded primarily by the Patient Centered Outcomes Resource Institute (PCORI).  The EQUALITY study is being conducted under the auspices of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 


Who conducts the interviews? 

Two researchers trained in qualitative methods are conducting all the in-depth interviews.  One is a third-year surgical resident and the other is a third-year medical student; both are at Johns Hopkins.


How do hospitals collect sexual orientation and gender identity? 

While there have been studies examining the specific questions on how to ask sexual orientation and gender identity (SO/GI), there is little research on the setting, mechanism, and recording of patients' SO/GI, particularly from a patient perspective.  Hence, this study.