The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency under the direction of the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Wednesday pledged $248,000 toward LGBT health centers.

Health centers provide primary health care services to medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

HRSA's award will go to the Fenway Institute to create a National Training and Technical Assistance Center to help community health centers improve the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations.

The Fenway Institute is the research training and policy arm of Fenway Health, a community health center that has served the gay community in Boston for more than 40 years.

“This award is an important step in HHS' continuing effort to provide health care services to all people recognizing that different groups of people may have distinctive health care needs,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Fenway will develop curricula specifically targeted to the gay community and provide consultation to health center staff.

“Significant health disparities exist for sexual and gender minorities,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “This award will help to expand access for the LGBT community to ensure that patients who need care can receive it in a safe, welcoming and respectful environment.”

HHS on Wednesday also announced new guidance to support enforcement of a memo signed last April by President Barack Obama that bans hospitals from discriminating against gay men and lesbians.