LGBTQ Health Equity at the Bloomberg School
LGBTQ Health Training Opportunity
Since 2010, the LGBTQ Working Group at the Bloomberg School has helped advance training and research around health and health disparities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations.
To this end, the Working Group—composed of faculty, students, alumni and staff with an interest in LGBTQ health equality—has sponsored a film and speakers series, held an annual research and data exchange day and designed new courses focused on LGBTQ health research.
One of their biggest achievements to date is the creation and launch of an LGBTQ Health Certificate program which welcomed its first cohort in the fall of 2017. Still in its first year, the program has enrolled MPH, MHS and PhD students from both Bloomberg School and the School of Nursing but is open to anyone across the University seeking training in LGBTQ health.
“My sense is that the certificate is appealing to students who are interested in or already doing work related to LGBTQ health and want to strengthen their knowledge and build a foundation for future work,” says faculty sponsor Danielle German, PhD ’09, MPH.
The certificate offers much-needed training opportunities in LGBTQ health, including cultural competency and methodology that incorporates the diverse influences shaping health issues for sexual and gender minorities. Courses include:
- Epidemiology of LGBT Health
- Legal and Public Health Issues in the Regulation of Intimacy
- Gay, Bisexual and Other Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and HIV: Theoretical Perspectives on the U.S. Epidemic
- Global Perspectives on LGBT Health
John Mark Wiginton, a first-year PhD student in Health, Behavior and Society, is a member of the certificate’s inaugural cohort and hopes to apply what he learns to future research. “LGBTQ health issues are my focus in my PhD program,” he says. “It’s rare to find a program giving such attention and visibility to these health matters.”
Ongoing support from the School for the Working Group and the certificate has been strong. “[It] has been a priority for the School’s leadership to progress toward achievement of the School’s goals regarding diversity,” says German.
LGBTQ Health Research in Action—The LITE Study
The Working Group is also involved in a number of research projects, including the LITE Study, a recently launched multisite cohort of transgender women to assess HIV incidence and acquisition risks using technology-enhanced methods. Members of the Working Group, including faculty, staff, and students, provide scientific input to the study and support data collection and analysis activities.
The first cohort in the U.S. to focus specifically on transgender women, the LITE study will work with transgender women in six cities from Boston to Miami to gather information about HIV incidence and risk factors, as well as access to prevention methods and care for those living with HIV. The findings will “provide vital information for future HIV prevention and care research among transgender women,” says principal investigator Andrea L. Wirtz, PhD ’15, MHS ’07. “[This study will] offer a platform upon which other research questions can be explored and inform the development and testing of evidence-based and acceptable HIV prevention interventions for this population.”
Another LGBTQ Working Group Win
Pop-up Principals: (left to right) Danielle German, Jennifer Glick (post-doc fellow in Mental Health), Mannat Malik (senior research program coordinator, Epidemiology), and John Mark Wiginton
Working Group members John Mark Wiginton and Danielle German are also members of a team that won a Diversity Innovation Grant from the Johns Hopkins Idea Lab for their proposal: LGBTQ Health Pop-Ups Across JHMI.
The project will focus on the intersection of LGBTQ health-specific issues and other health matters such as LGBTQ Reproductive Health or LGBTQ Geriatric Health. The group will collaborate across the Schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine to plan pop-up events like article presentations, guest talks and discussions. The first pop-up is planned for mid- to late-July with monthly events thereafter.