In the same week as the U.S. Supreme Court’s monumental decision on Friday to legalize gay marriage nationwide, researchers at the University California San Francisco announced the launch of an iPhone app that could become a catalyst for improving the health of the LGBTQ population.
The Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality (PRIDE) study will be the first large and long-term study of the LGBT population. It’s an effort to collect the most extensive database on the physical and mental health of gay and transgender people.
The ultimate goal is to learn more about how sexual orientation and identity figures into risks for a range of conditions such as AIDS/HIV, cancer, depression and lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity. The researchers hope that over time the study will help to better define health issues that are significant to this population and improve social and health care services.
The study is likely to include tens of thousands of people. They will only be required to spend 30 minutes a year filling out a survey either on the phone app or their website. The initial enrollment takes 10 to 15 minutes. In addition to questions about personal health and lifestyle, the survey also asks study participants to weigh in on what topics should be addressed in the research.
The PRIDE app is one of a number of studies that have been launched with the help of Apple through its open source app program called ResearchKit. The purpose of the project, which began in March, is to improve the way health data is collected, especially for studies that last multiple years and in which the attrition rate is often high. The app has also been used to launch studies on heart disease, breast cancer, asthma, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.