Nicole VanKim, Guest Blogger, LGBT Health Researcher & Summer Institute Graduate!


by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Reporting on the Summer Institute Final Presentations

As you know Nicole VanKim was a Summer Institute student at The Fenway Institute. She’s been providing informative and engaging updates on the 4-week course, and today received her certificate of completion for the program!

Today, she presented on the topic of weight and weight-related behaviors.

Blogging Scholar and Student Nicole VanKim

What you may know about obesity: it has been on the rise since the 1980s, nearly doubling in the last 15 years (16% in 1995 and 28% in 2010). There are a number of possible indicators for this high rate (low-income, race/ethnicity) that have been studied in the past. There has been some study of obesity/nutrition among sexual minority men and women, and through the scattered research there’s some indicator that lesbian and bisexual women experience obesity at greater rates than straight women and gay men are more likely to have an eating disorder than straight men.

Nicole’s research project could help inform the understanding of this limited topic of study in LGBT health, and we’re looking forward to following her progress!

And we want to thank Nicole for all of her great work, and especially for blogging for us during this fantastic Summer Institute!

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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