Summer Institutes

Summer Institute 2013 sets out to create LGBT health research textbook

From Scout, Ph.D. Director, The Fenway Institute’s Network for LGBT Health Equity

I’ve had the pleasure for the last few days to be brainstorming with a bunch of other LGBT scientists at the very top of a crazy beautiful building at University of Pittsburgh, their Cathedral of Learning. Our host is Dr. Ron Stall and all the other members of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt. I always love hanging out with a herd of pointy-headed folk, and this group is as pointy as it gets. The ideas are challenging, interesting, and always thought provoking. As the headline gave away, we’re brainstorming on what we’re fondly calling: “A love letter to future generations of LGBT health researchers” aka a textbook on how to do LGBT health research. Thanks to Ron & everyone at Pitt for convening us and shepherding this idea, because I feel like the longer we talk about what we really want the next generation to know, the more we realize how much there is to tell them. How to get LGBT measures added to surveillance instruments. How to make sure studies funding for one topic (say, oh HIV) create findings on other health priorities (like oh say, smoking!). How to disseminate research findings not just to elite academic journals, but also to communities.

To read more, go to Dr. Scout’s LGBT Health Equality Network blog.

Summer Institute brainstorms atop the Cathedral of Learning


Summer Institute 2012

The 2012 Summer Institute was initially designed to focus on creating models of substance abuse treatment among LGBT populations. The Center had a stellar group of scholars who travelled to Pittsburgh to discuss how best to accomplish this goal. Participants included Drs. Adam Carrico (UCSF), Susan Cochrane (UCLA), Steven Kurtz (Nova Southeastern), Gordon Mansergh (CDC), Connall O’Cleirigh (Harvard/Fenway), Cathy Reback (Friends Research/UCLA) and Steve Shoptaw (UCLA).

As the discussions proceeded through the 3 day meeting, participants’ conversations kept coming back to the interconnections between substance use and HIV risk among MSM. This was the result of the literature (specifically related to substance abuse and interventions to lower rates of substance abuse) having an HIV focus. The paucity of research on populations other than gay  men at risk for HIV was also noted, and discussions regarding the need for focus on other LGBT populations was warranted.

The agenda for the Summer Institute moved from overviews of the epidemiology of substance abuse in LGBT populations to what we know about substance abuse treatment in those same groups, all the while focusing on how best to address both resiliencies and vulnerabilities. The end goal was to create new and more efficacious models of intervening into the multiple connections between substance abuse and HIV among MSM with the hope of gaining insights into improving substance abuse treatment for the LGBT community as a whole

2012 Summer Institute Presentations

Affect Regulation as a Source of Resilience among LGBT Populations

Current Knowledge about Substance Abuse Treatment for LGBT Populations

Integrated Treatment Platforms to Support HIV Prevention and Treatment among MSM in the Context of Comorbid Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Project MIX intervention outcomes of substance use before/during sex: A 2-Arm RCT (and non-random 3rd Arm) for HIV+ and HIV-, substance-using MSM in 4 U.S. cities

Resilience-based interventions for highly vulnerable MSM

Substance Abuse Careers in the MACS: Evidence for Resiliencies

Text Messaging Reduces HIV Risk Behaviors among Methamphetamine-using Men Who Have Sex with Men

2012 Summer Institute Agenda

Monday, June 18

What do we know about substance abuse and substance abuse treatment in LGBT populations? 

9:00        Introductions/ Setting the Meeting Goals    (Ron Stall)

9:30        Overview Presentation

Epidemiology of Substance Use and Abuse among LGBT populations   (Susan Cochran)

10:00     Overview Presentation

Current Knowledge about Substance Abuse Treatment for LGBT

                Populations   (Steve Shoptaw)

10:45     Discussion

  • Which substance abuse disparities do we know exist?  And which disparities exist for which LGBT populations?
  • Which problems associated with substance abuse are higher in LGBT populations?

Noon     Lunch

1:00        Discussion

Possible Topics:

  • What appear to be the factors that are raising substance abuse problems in LGBT populations?  Are there different factors important to different populations?
  • What are the challenges to accessing substance abuse treatment for LGBT populations?  Are these different for different LGBT populations?
  • What do we know about treatment efficacy for LGBT populations?  Are these different across LGBT populations?

3:00        Taking Advantage of Resiliencies in LGBT Substance Abuse Treatment


 Substance Abuse Careers in the MACS: Evidence for Resiliencies? (Ron Stall)


Affect Regulation as a Source of Resilience among LGBT Populations (Adam Carrico)

  • What do we know about resiliencies against substance abuse careers for LGBT                  populations?
  • What do we know about life course trajectories of substance abuse in LGBT populations?  Is there an aging out phenomena regarding substance abuse among LGBT populations?

4:30        Summary


Tuesday,   June 19

What do we need to know to create effective substance abuse treatment and prevention models for LGBT populations? 

9:00        Recap of Day 1 Discussions (Ron Stall)

9:30        Presentation

Changes in Substance Use among MSM in an HIV Intervention Study   (Steve Kurtz)

10:00     Presentation

Changes in Substance Use among MSM in Project Mix   (Gordon Mansergh)

10:45     Presentation

Using Text Messaging as an Intervention Tool with Meth Using MSM   (Cathy Reback)

11:15     Presentation

Considerations in the Design of Substance Use Interventions for LGBT Populations    (Conall O’Cleirigh)

1:00        Discussion

Possible Topics:

Individual/Group Level Interventions:

  • To the extent that we have identified the factors that raise substance abuse levels in LGBT populations, how can we address these factors in new substance abuse treatment models?
  • What components should be included in substance abuse treatment programs for LGBT populations at the individual/group level?  Should the intervention be behaviorally –based only, or should we attempt to incorporate possible pharmacological components into the intervention design?
  • What should be the steps be in designing a substance abuse treatment model?  Should this model be ultimately tested using an RCT design?
  • Assuming an RCT design, what should the entry criteria for the intervention trial be?  How should we recruit populations?  Retain subjects?  What should be included as part of the activities in the control condition?  What about questionnaire effects in the control group?
  • Should interventions be designed to address co-occurring psychosocial conditions?  Co-occurring biomedical problems such as HIV or HCV infection?

3:00        Community Level/Prevention Interventions:

  • What components should be included in substance abuse treatment programs for LGBT populations at the community level?   What components should be included in substance abuse treatment programs for LGBT populations to prevent substance abuse at the community level?
  • What would be the best approach to testing the efficacy of a community level intervention to lower or prevent substance abuse problems among LGBT populations?

4:00        Summary

Wednesday, June 20

What are the most effective strategies to move the development of substance abuse treatment models for LGBT populations forward? 

9:00        Recap of Days 1 and 2   (Ron Stall)

9:30        Discussion

Possible Topics: 

  •  What are the most valuable things that we can do to move the field forward?
  • Are there projects that we could propose that might move this agenda forward?
  • What are the next best steps to moving the field forward?

11:30     Summary


Contact Us

University of Pittsburgh/ Graduate School of Public Health/ Center for LGBT Health Research/ P.O. Box 7319/ Pittsburgh PA 15213/ (412) 383-3000 Fax: (412) 383-1513 Email: .