USC LGBT Health Equity Initiative


Each month, the center features interviews with top scholars and experts on LBGT health topics.

• Erin Wilson, PhD, 3/4/2016
• Jason W. Mitchell, PhD, MPH, 3/18/ 2016
• Moore Rhys, C.I.P., 4/1/2016
• Michael P. Marshal, PhD, 5/26/2016

The USC LGBT Health Equity Initiative was created to lead scientific inquiry into the physical, emotional and social health of LGBT youth, and adults and families, and guide best practices for achieving health equity for this population.

Research shows that sexual and gender minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) experience significant mental and behavioral health disparities when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Sexual minorities report significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicide and substance abuse, among other harmful behaviors. Many of these disparities are systemic at the family, community and societal levels.

Led by USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work professor Jeremy Goldbach, the program’s work is guided by scholars, community leaders and nationally recognized experts in the field of LGBT health who are committed to advancing research, collaboration, training and outreach activities to facilitate dialogue, broaden awareness and promote social change.

Research Portfolio

  • Preventing Suicide Among LGBTQ Youths—Evaluating the Trevor Project: An evaluation of the Trevor Project, a crisis service provider for sexual minority youths and young adults, and the enhancement of a theoretical model of suicide prevention tailored for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals.
  • Measuring Stress Among Diverse Adolescents: National Institutes of Health-funded exploratory research examining the intersection of minority stress for adolescents who identify as sexual (lesbian, gay, bisexual) and racial and ethnic minorities. 
  • Improving Acceptance, Integration and Health Among LGBT Service Members:  First-ever Department of Defense-supported examination of active duty LGBT service members’ behavioral health needs. The research includes qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys with LGBT service members from each of the four military branches (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines). Research will include recommendations to the Department of Defense regarding improving the health and well-being of LGBT service members.
  • The Impact of Early Medical Treatment in Transgender Youth: The first U.S.-based, national multi-site observational study examining the physiological and psychological outcomes of existing medical treatment protocols for gender dysphoria, including puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in early and late pubertal transgender and gender non-conforming youth.
  • Outcomes for Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Co-Occurring Treatment:  This study builds on the Women’s Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence Study, a nine-site study of substance abuse treatment settings.

Professional Advisory Boards

Research Advisory Board

Edward Alessi, PhD
An assistant professor at Rutgers University whose research investigates the effects of traumatic stress on the mental health of sexual and gender minorities.

David J. Brennan, PhD
An associate professor at the University of Toronto, holder of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Applied HIV Research Chair in Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health, and director of CRUISElab whose work focuses on the health and well-being of sexual minorities.

Shelley Craig, PhD
An associate professor at the University of Toronto  whose research and clinical work focuses on LGBTQ youth.

Michael Marshal, PhD
An associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh whose academic work focuses on mental health disparities among LGBT youth.

Johanna Olson, MD
An adolescent medicine physician specializing in the care of gender non-conforming children and transgender youth. Board certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine, she is an assistant professor at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Sheree Schrager, PhD
The director of research for hospital medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, she explores the experiences of sexual and gender minority youth and young adults.

Community Advisory Board

Michael Fererra, LGBT Center of Los Angeles
David Bond, The Trevor Project
Joel Gemino, LGBT Center of Long Beach
Dave Reynolds, Anti-Defamation League of America