Choosing resilience

From The Atlantic online:

University of Pittsburgh medical anthropologist Ron Stall and his colleagues have identified four interconnected “epidemics” of psychosocial health conditions among urban gay and bisexual men, each magnifying the others: childhood sexual abuse, partner violence, depression, and drug use. Together, their insidious effects are called “syndemics.”

“Something horrible is happening during adolescence to young gay men,” Stall told me in a 2010 interview for my book Victory Deferred. “These young men don’t understand what’s happening to themselves. There’s no community. Sometimes if the ‘sissy boy’ goes to dad to tell about getting beat up on    the playground, he risks being beaten up by his dad. That kind of experience has got to be searing, and leaves scars on gay men.”

Read more on The Atlantic Website.

Leave a Comment February 21, 2013

A conversation with University of Pittsburgh researcher Dr. Amy Herrick

"We never considered looking for resilience. We're really good at measuring sickness and disparity but have no real way to measure health."

From Pittsburgh’s City Paper:

If you’re a gay or bisexual man, a study at the University of Pittsburgh proves what LGBT advocates have been preaching for years: It does get better. In fact, researchers discovered that within the study, the majority of men who have sex with men (MSM) overcame internalized homophobia — or self-loathing because of external homophobia or negative societal stereotypes — over time. And it didn’t really matter during which decade they realized a same-sex attraction.

In the study, led by Dr. Amy Herrick, a post-doctoral associate in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, researchers also discovered that even though some MSM experienced bullying or homophobia, they didn’t experience negative health affects like sexually transmitted diseases or depression. It’s one of the first studies to focus on positive health outcomes for gay men.

Herrick recently spoke to City Paper about the results. You can go to City Paper online to read the interview.

Leave a Comment February 21, 2013

Gay Men’s Health: A Q&A with Dr. Ron Stall

From BETA online…

Dr. Ron Stall, Professor of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, wants prevention efforts to leverage gay men’s strengths rather than focus solely on issues that put them at risk.

Stall’s work with the Urban Men’s Health Study uncovered “syndemics” among gay men: overlapping psychosocial health issues that have an additive effect. Of the health problems that overburden gay men, Stall observes, HIV/AIDS may only be the most recognized; according to his research, the disproportionately high HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) goes hand in hand with documented higher rates of substance use, clinical depression, partner violence, and childhood sexual abuse.

At the same time, however, research by Stall and his colleagues uncovered “resiliencies” that help protect gay men’s health, such as the capacity to resolve substance use problems over time and the ability to remain HIV negative despite having experienced syndemic conditions that would ordinarily increase their HIV risk.

Tapping into these resiliencies, says Stall, could inform HIV-prevention and wellness interventions that truly resonate with gay men and help them keep themselves and their partners healthy and happy.

Read the interview on BETA.

BETA is an online source for new developments in HIV prevention, evolving approaches to HIV treatment, and strategies for living well with the virus.

Leave a Comment February 8, 2013

Statement by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., on opportunities for advancing LGBT health research

In March 2011, the Institute of Medicine issued its report of the NIH commissioned  study on The  Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation  for Better Understanding External Web Site Policy. At  that time, I asked the NIH institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs) to form  the NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee (RCC).  I charged this committee  to consider carefully the report’s recommendations and to suggest strategies  for how the ICOs can support research to increase the knowledge base for promoting  the health of the LGBT community. I am pleased to say that the RCC has fulfilled  their charge.  I thank them for their thoughtful analysis of the NIH portfolio  on LGBT research and for identifying several important opportunities for promoting  research and knowledge in LGBT health. The NIH is now developing a multi-pronged  plan to implement a number of these opportunities to extend and advance the  knowledge base for promoting LGBT health.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Director, National Institutes of Health

Leave a Comment January 7, 2013

HHS announces objectives to improve LGBT health

From the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association news:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the Department’s 2012 objectives aimed at improving the health and well-being of LGBT Americans. Included in the nine objectives, detailed in a report by the HHS LGBT Issues Coordinating Committee, are initiatives aimed at reducing obesity in lesbian and bisexual women and preventing tobacco use among LGBT youth and young adults. Additionally, the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) will award up to eight grants to organizations to connect transgender women of color with HIV prevention and care services, National Institutes of Health will release a report that identifies the gaps and opportunities in its research portfolios in light of the recommendations from the 2011 Institute of Medicine report and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and HRSA will develop a plan to disseminate existing tools to behavioral health and primary care practitioners to help them assess, treat and refer LGBT clients in a culturally competent manner. To read more about the objectives, please click here.

Leave a Comment June 25, 2012

Center for LGBT Health Research welcomes national experts

Both researchers will share their updates on the work they are doing at Harvard and Northwestern University.

Dr. Austin is an award-winning researcher, teacher, and mentor. She is Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator at the Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Boston: Dr. Austin’s primary research is in the behavioral sciences and social epidemiology, addressing social and physical environmental influences on physical activity, nutritional patterns, and eating disorders risk in school and community settings. In addition, her research interests include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescent health.


Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences and directs the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program. A central focus of his research is on the clustering of psychological, behavioral, and physical health, particularly as they relate to HIV in vulnerable populations. Dr. Mustanski received his doctorate in Psychology from Indiana University, where he trained extensively at the Kinsey Institute. He has been the Principal Investigator for multiple National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other foundation research and training awards, including being named a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar. The majority of his research focuses on the health and development of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. In addition, he conducts applied research on HIV prevention among young men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Mustanski was an early adopter of using the Internet for health research and his ongoing work seeks to apply new technology to improve research and interventions.

May 2, 2012

Webinar on Transgender Health scheduled for May 8

The first Department of Health and Human Services “Healthy People 2020 Spotlight on LGBT Health” Webinar on Transgender Health is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm. During the webinar, listeners will be introduced to Healthy People 2020’s new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) topic area. Other presentations will include an overview of transgender health, transgender health issues and development of gender identity.

Register today

Webinar Agenda:

Welcome and Introductions
AJ Pearlman (Moderator)
Immediate Office of the Secretary
US Department of Health and Human Services

Introduction to Healthy People and the New LGBT Topic Area
Don Wright, MD, MPH
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)
Director, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Overview of Transgender Health
JoAnne Keatley, MSW
Director, Center of Excellence on Transgender Health
University of California San Francisco

Development of Gender Identity and Mental Health
Walter Bockting, PhD
Professor, Program in Human Sexuality
University of Minnesota

Transgender Health Issues
Madeline Deutsch, MD
Director, Transgender Health Program
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center

May 2, 2012

A frank discussion with the Pitt Men’s Study’s own Dr. Anthony Silvestre

Anthony Silvestre, Ph.D.

“The battle against AIDS has produced effective prevention interventions that can help people change their unsafe sexual and drug-using behaviors, and effective treatments to keep people who are infected relatively healthy over the long run. However, the war against AIDS is stagnant. The institutional changes that are necessary to stop AIDS, and to prevent the outbreak of other sexually transmitted diseases, have not occurred. Our professional schools, funders of research, our churches and our educational systems have made precious few changes in how they do business. As a society, we have failed to integrate healthy views about sexuality into our everyday lives. We continue to treat it as the stuff of snickering adolescence or of slick merchandizing.

Clearly, there have been major advances in treatment and the prevention of AIDS. There have been few changes in the attitudes that stigmatize the at-risk populations, and that keep us from maturely responding to sexual-health matters in our schools and universities and other major institutions.”

You can read the full interview at Pittsburgh City Paper Online.

Leave a Comment February 9, 2012

An interview with leading gay men’s health expert, the Center’s Ron Stall

Dr. Ron Stall

University of Pittsbrugh Researcher Ron Stall talks about 30 years of HIV and gay men’s health on Web’s Huffington Post…

While no longer a singularly “gay disease,” gay, bisexual and transgender people remain severely impacted by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. For young gay, bi, and transgender youth of color, alarming rates of HIV rival those of some Sub-Saharan countries. What can we learn from the 30-year history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to forge a better, future response?

These are just some of the questions the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is posing this year as it reflects on lessons learned from the past 30 years of HIV/AIDS. Chief among these questions is why, 30 years into the crisis, are rates of HIV highest among young gay men, particularly men of color? According to federal officials, rates of HIV among gay men are 50 times higher than any other group and, while new cases have plateaued for other groups, among gay/bi men and transgender, they continue to climb.

Read the full article.

Leave a Comment February 9, 2012

New Pitt Study Shows Gay and Bi Youth Experience Abuse More Often

PITTSBURGH, June 22, 2011 – Young people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, experience same-sex attractions or engage in same-sex sexual ehaviors are more likely to experience sexual abuse, parental physical abuse and bullying from peers than other youth, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study.

In addition, these adolescents – identified as “sexual minority youth” in the study – are more likely to miss school due to fear. The American Public Health Association recently published the findings online; the study will appear in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“The higher rates of abuse experienced by sexual minority youths are clearly one of the driving mechanisms underlying higher rates of mental health problems, substance use, risky sexual behavior and HIV by sexual minority adolescents and adults,” said Mark S. riedman, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences. “However, I cannot stress enough that these youth experience sexual and physical abuse and bullying because they identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual or experience same-sex attraction; abuse does not ‘cause’ sexual orientation or identification.”

Go to the UPMC Media Relations Website for the full press release.

Leave a Comment February 9, 2012

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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: .