New Project Seeks to Gain Understanding of Factors Affecting Health of Queer Women in Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 27, 2017) – In recognition of June as Pride Month, the University of Kentucky Women’s Health and You (WHY) project, formerly known as the Kentucky Women’s Health Registry, announces the launch of WHY Queer Health.

The term “queer” is an umbrella term that encompasses all individuals who identify as sexual or gender minorities, meaning that they don’t identify as heterosexual or cisgender (having a gender identity that matches the sex assigned at birth). 

Queer women face an array of health disparities, including higher rates of breast and cervical cancer and lower rates of cancer screenings. Queer women meanwhile experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, substance use and tobacco use than their non-queer counterparts. Life events, including experiences of discrimination or lack of family acceptance, might partly fuel these health disparities.

While data collection on women's health has vastly improved in recent years, there remains a lack of information regarding queer women's lives and how their experiences influence their health. For example, from 1998-2011, the National Institutes of Health funded 629 studies on LGBTQ* health, but only 13.5 percent of those focused on sexual minority women. Furthermore, among queer women, specific subgroups are often under-represented in health data, including younger women, women of low socioeconomic status, and racial/ethnic minorities. 

Given the dearth of women's health research to address the unique health risk behavior and medical care needs of queer women in Kentucky, WHY has developed the Queer Health component in alignment with its mission to provide all women who have historically been excluded from health studies the opportunity to participate and benefit from research.

Women in Kentucky who identify as a sexual or gender minority are invited to join WHY Queer Health. While participation involves answering voluntary and confidential questions about health, WHY Queer Health is more than a simple survey.

“Joining WHY Queer Health is a way to help contribute to a better understanding of queer women's life experiences and health priorities over time. Participation in WHY Queer Health will drive health promotion programs that are by and for queer women,” said Amanda Fallin-Bennett, WHY Queer Health project leader and assistant professor in the UK College of Nursing,

To join WHY Queer Health, you can click here or copy and paste the following link:

Media Contact: Mallory Powell,

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue