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On the ethics of digestive health research in historically marginalised communities
  1. Christopher Vélez1,
  2. Laura E Targownik2
  1. 1Center for Neurointestinal Health, Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Mount Sinai IBD Centre, Division of Gastroenterology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Vélez, Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine, Boston, MA 02114, USA; cvelez{at}mgh.harvard.edu

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The recent publication in Gut of work titled ‘Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease in men with high-risk homosexual activity’ by Mansoor et al1 detailing the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in men who have sex with men (MSM) has caused us much concern. This episode represents a teaching opportunity to discuss the ethics of digestive health research in historically marginalised communities (HMCs). Due to historic and ongoing lack of political and economic power and low levels of representation of HMCs among decision-makers at academic institutions and funding agencies, research questions pertinent to HMCs, including sexual and gender minorities (SGM, also known as LGBTQIA+), have gone unanswered. HMCs frequently have been exploited by research communities.2 3 Even in recent years, troubling research on persons from HMCs continues to take place and is published,4 often as a result of a failure of researchers to include members of these communities in the …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @Chris_Velez_MD

  • Contributors Both authors have contributed to the conception and execution of this manuscript. Both authors approve of this version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests CV has received funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and from diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at MGH. He also is a consultant for the American College of Physicians and Expert Review. LT has received fees for serving on advisory boards, consultations from Janssen Canada, Abbvie Canada, Pfizer Canada, Takeda Canada, Roche Canada, Gilead Canada, Sandoz Canada, Amgen Canada, Fresnius Kabi, Viatris and has received support for research from Janssen Canada, Abbvie Canada, Pfizer Canada, Takeda Canada, Roche Canada, Gilead Canada, Sandoz Canada, Amgen Canada, Organon Canada. The content of this letter is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of any organisation listed above.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.