LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at:

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Summer Institute Comes to a Close

by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

Friday was the final day of the Summer Institute. We presented all of our hard work over the past month with much excitement and sadness. Excited to have accomplished and learned so much in such a short period of time and sad that the Institute was ending. I am sure that many of the bonds of friendship formed over the past month will continue to grow although we will be States away from each other.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Dr. Judith Bradford, the co-director of the Summer Institute, for her leadership and passion in moving LGBT health research forward as well as providing such a great training opportunity for a new generation of researchers who are dedicated to improving the health of our communities. In addition, Dr. Aimee Van Wagenen, also a co-director of the Summer Institute, has been an amazing source of daily support and sanity over the past month. Her dedication to LGBT health research and mad organization skills has made the Institute an awesome experience. Finally, Sari Reisner, whose expertise and enthusiasm for statistics has helped us with the data analysis for our final projects and has kept us calm as we ran into problems and stressed out about completing our projects.

In addition to the leaders of the Summer Institute, I need to thank the Network for the opportunity to share my experience at the Summer Institute. Although I cannot share the specifics about everyone’s project (I should add though that as projects become public through publication or conference presentations, I will try to continue to blog about that), I will leave you with a product of the Summer Institute that is publicly available. I present to you the “2011 Summer Institute Statertainment” video (statertainment is essentially the incorporation of statistics into pop music):

Hale Thompson, Summer Institute Graduate, LGBT Health Researcher & Blogger

by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate

Presenting on the Summer Institute 2011 Student Presentations


I had the joy of observing another batch of presentations from the Summer Institute 2011 students. There were so many fantastic presentations and a great deal of ongoing work in cutting edge areas of LGBT health, it was hard to keep up with! Each student analyzed large LGBT data sets, presenting the data in new ways, and it was truly impressive to see the sophisticated ways in which they analyzed this data. It’s exciting to witness the earlier* stages of what will likely be tremendous careers in LGBT health to follow in the coming decades (*I use earlier loosely as many have ALREADY been doing fantastic LGBT health research and advocacy for many years).

I already highlighted the work of our fabulous member turned Network blogger, Nicole VanKim, and today would like to spotlight the work of another former Network Blogger, Hale Thompson.

Hale hails from Minnesota (excuse the pun) at the University of Minnesota’s PhD program in social epidemiology but is transitioning to University of Illinois Chicago’s Community Health PhD program this year. His research tends toward transgender health within a social ecological framework, methodology, and mobile technology as a health promotion tool.

For his final presentation, Hale presented on his analysis on the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s dataset from the TEACH study – Transgender Women Empowering and Advancing Community Health.  It was fascinating to see the work Hale put together in his short time at the Institute, and again, not to end on cliffhanger, but we look forward to the fantastic work that will come from Hale’s analysis project!

Thank you Hale for all of your contributions to the Network and to LGBT health! And thank you to all of the other students and for the work of the PopCenter and Fenway staff involved in cultivating these impressive researchers. It really feels like this Summer Institute will have a huge impact on health research in our communities.

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!

Final week of the summer institute

by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

For the final week of the institute, we had another great line up of guest speakers. We started the week off with Phoenix Matthews, an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who indulged us with a great discussion on tobacco interventions for LGBT populations. On Tuesday, Kerith Conron from Northeastern University introduced us to cognitive testing of questions used to collected transgender data in population-based surveillance systems. She was followed by Walter Bockting, a professor at the University of Minnesota, who led a discussion on the development of transgender health research. Ilan Meyer, a Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute at UCLA, held a double session on the Proposition 8 trial and the role of the minority stress theory on Wednesday. Wrapping up the seminar series for the Summer Institute was Conall O’Cleirigh from Harvard University, leading a discussion on the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the health of gay and bisexual men.

On Friday, aka the final day of the Institute, we will be presenting our projects. We are all scurrying to pull together our presentations in the final few days left and enjoying each others company’s before we part ways soon.

Introducing Summer Institute Participants (Final Batch)

by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

I have introduced Summer Institute participants last week and the week before.

This week, I present to you the rest of the Summer Institute participants:

Tristan Guarini is a doctoral candidate in Suffolk University’s Clinical Psychology program. Tristan’s current work examines transgender identity formation in female-to-male individuals and aspects of psychological functioning, identity satisfaction, and gender identity-related social support. Tristan is also interested in access to healthcare in trans populations and its impact on variables such as psychological functioning, overall health, and identity satisfaction.

Amee Schwitters is a PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at the University of Montana. Amee earned her BA in Anthropology from Washington State University and MPH in Community Health Education from New Mexico State University. Her research interests are in sexuality, public anthropology, and HIV prevention. Her current research investigates the role of the sociocultural environment in influencing rural men’s decisions to remain closeted about having sex with other men and how that decision impacts emotional well-being and sexual risk communication.

Hale Thompson recently completed his second year at University of Minnesota’s PhD program in social epidemiology and is transitioning to University of Illinois Chicago’s Community Health PhD program. His research tends toward transgender health within a social ecological framework, methodology, and mobile technology as a health promotion tool. Here at the Institute he is analyzing the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s dataset from the TEACH study – Transgender Women Empowering and Advancing Community Health. You may recognize Hale as a guest blogger here on the Network for LGBT Health Equity blog. Read his posts during his time at NetRoots Nation 2011 here.

Mieke Thomeer is a doctoral student in sociology and a Population Research Center trainee at the University of Texas at Austin. Mieke studies how middle-aged and older adults in long-term intimate relationships experience physical and mental illness and how these experiences are shaped by gender and sexual identity. She also examines how nursing home risk is shaped by life course processes. Her research is both quantitative and qualitative, and most of her research uses couple-linked data.

Mark Williams earned his Master of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt University and Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. He is currently a doctoral student in social welfare at the University of Washington. Mark is currently working on his dissertation, in which he analyzes a recently collected data set of LGBT older adults to examine associations between same-sex partnership status and health.

Michelle S. Williams earned a BS and MPH from Florida A&M University. Her academic and career interests are focused on eliminating cancer disparities with an emphasis on cancer prevention through the development and implementation of innovative health education and health promotion interventions. She is also interested in LGBT college student health and global health. Michelle has conducted research in Ghana, West Africa as a scholar in the National Institutes of Health Minority Health International Research Training program and as a Fulbright student scholar.

And there you have it folks, all of the amazing 2011 Summer Institute participants.

Week three guest lecturers

by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

In addition to a very busy Monday, it has been a frenetic week here at the Summer Institute. On Tuesday, Deb Bowen returned and discussed designing interventions for sexual minority populations. She was followed by Heather Corliss, from Harvard University, who talked about her work looking at sexual orientation and substance use in youth. On Wednesday, we had David Chae, an assistant professor at Emory University, who led an interactive discussion on LGBT Asian-American populations and the challenges around categorizing race in health research and in general. He also highlighted the nuances of racial and sexual identity categories and used many examples across time and space. The following day, we heard from the Fenway Institute’s Co-Chair, Kenneth Mayer who presented on HIV trials and Patricia Case, a Senior Research Scientist at the Fenway Institute, who presented on mixed methods (i.e., using both qualitative and quantitative data). Ron Stall, a professor and Chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, led a double seminar session on Friday covering the topic of resiliency in MSM populations.

In the data lab this week, we scrambled to wrap up analyses as we prepare for final presentations next week. In addition to preparing our slides, meals have been filled with discussion of what outfits we will be wearing for our presentations next week. Which prompted a small shopping spree on Newbury Street over the weekend.