About the Researcher Spotlight

The Sexual & Gender Minority Health Researcher Spotlight highlights both successful early and established NIH-funded investigators in the field of SGM health research. This feature is in an interview format, and explores pathways to and provides guidance for building a successful career in this field of inquiry. Click below to learn more about our featured investigators!

Featured Investigators

Robert Garofalo HeadshotNovember 2022: Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH
Chief, Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine; Lurie Children's Hospital
Potocsnak Family Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Robert Garofalo is a Potocsnak Family Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He is an attending physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he serves as the Chief of the Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine. He founded and now co-directs the Lurie Children’s Gender & Sex Development Program, the first comprehensive program providing multidisciplinary care to transgender/gender-nonconforming children and adolescents in the Midwest. His primary clinical and research activities relate to the care of marginalized youth populations including HIV-positive and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people. His research focuses on HIV prevention, mostly targeting either young men who have sex with men (MSM) or transgender individuals. He has more than 20 years of research experience in this field and is a national authority and advocate on LGBT health issues, adolescent sexuality, and HIV clinical care and prevention. In 2010, he was appointed to the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine Committee on LGBT Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. Dr. Garofalo is the Editor-in-Chief of the Transgender Health journal. He has received numerous awards from community-based and professional organizations for his community service and research. In 2019 he was awarded the Ellen Perrin Lifetime Achievement Award in LGBTQ Health by the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has over 175 peer-reviewed publications in scholarly journals, including seminal work related to LGBTQ youth and developing evidence-based HIV prevention and sexual health interventions for young gay men and transgender women, as well as medication adherence among youth living with HIV.  In 2021 he was appointed by the Office of the Director to the Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research Working Group of the NH Council of Councils. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Garofalo is the founder of Fred Says (named after his dog), a 501©3 non-profit charity that since 2013 has raised and donated back to the community over $1 million to support care and services for HIV+ youth. In 2021 he co-authored the book When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them which is based on his own personal journey living with HIV.

Scout HeadshotAugust 2022: Scout, MA, Ph.D.
Executive Director, National LGBT Cancer Network

Scout is the Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network and the principal investigator of both the CDC-funded LGBTQ tobacco-related cancer disparity network and Out: The National Cancer Survey. He spends much of his time providing technical assistance for tobacco and cancer focusing agencies expanding their reach and engagement with LGBTQ+ populations. Scout has a long history in health policy analysis and a particular interest in expanding LGBTQ+ surveillance and research. He has faculty appointments at both Brown University and Boston Universities’ Schools of Public Health. He is a member of the NIH Council of Councils, the Co-Chair of the NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office Work Group, on the Advisory Panel for NIH’s All of Us initiative, and a U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention delegate. His work has won him recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, two state governments, and many city governments. Scout is an openly transgender father of three, a vegetarian, an avid hiker and runner.

Amy Tishelman HeadshotJune 2022: Amy Tishelman, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor, Boston College, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Amy Tishelman is a clinical and research psychologist, and a Research Associate Professor at Boston College in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.  She previously worked at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) for close to three decades  where she last held the positions as Director of Clinical Research in the Behavioral Health, Endocrinology, and Urology (BE-U) Program and Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). These programs provide clinical care to youth, young adults, and families related to differences of sex development (DSD), intersex conditions, and gender. She was also a Senior Attending Psychologist at BCH and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tishelman previously worked extensively in the areas of child maltreatment and trauma. Dr. Tishelman has been awarded several NIH grants as an MPI or Co-I, investigating well-being and/or gender development in children and adolescents, and youth/young adults with DSD. She also co-authored a clinical report for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), published in Pediatrics, on fertility and sexual function counseling for at-risk pediatric patients. Dr. Tishelman was selected by the World Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) to be the international leader in developing new global standards of care for prepubescent children, and by the American Psychological Association to co-chair a national task force on DSD. She is on several journal editorial boards and speaks and publishes frequently in her areas of expertise.

Typhanye Dyer HeadshotApril 2022: Typhanye V. Dyer, PhD, MPH, BS
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland 

Typhanye Vielka Dyer is an epidemiologist and health disparities scholar whose research examines the influence of social, psychological, and behavioral factors on STI and HIV risk in Black populations. Her work examines syndemics (intersecting psychosocial and structural barriers), including the impact of trauma, poor mental health, and criminal justice involvement on STI/HIV outcomes for Black sexual and gender minorities, as well as Black women living with HIV in the DC Metro Area.
 

Jessica Fish HeadshotFebruary 2022: Kodiak Soled, MPhil, MSN, RN
PhD Candidate, 
Columbia University School of Nursing; Vice President, Lesbian Health Fund

Kodiak Soled is a Ph.D. candidate at the Columbia University School of Nursing and a National Institutes of Health Ruth Kirschstein Predoctoral Research Fellow. Kodiak’s community-informed research explores multidimensional social support among sexual and gender minority (SGM) childbearing parents throughout the perinatal period. She is particularly interested in the unique ways SGM childbearing individuals are resilient during an intensified period of hetero-and cis-normativity and its impact on perinatal and infant outcomes. She hopes to generate foundational knowledge through this study to develop and test future culturally competent, community-based social support interventions that promote perinatal health and well-being among SGM families.

Jessica Fish HeadshotDecember 2021: Jessica Fish, PhD
Assistant Professor of Family Health and Wellbeing, Department of Family Health and Wellbeing, 
Department of Family Science, University of Maryland School of Public Health; Deputy Director for Research and Evaluation, University of Maryland Prevention Research Center

Dr. Jessica Fish is a human development and family science scholar whose research focuses on the health and well-being of sexual and gender minority (i.e., lesbian/gay, bisexual, and transgender) people and their families. Broadly, Dr. Fish studies the social and interpersonal factors that shape the development and health of sexual and gender minority youth and adults. Her overarching goal is to identify modifiable factors that contribute to sexual and gender minority health disparities in order to inform developmentally-sensitive policies, programs and prevention strategies that promote the health of sexual and gender minority people across the life course.

Sean Arayasirikul HeadshotOctober 2021: Sean Arayasirikul, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco; Senior Research Scientist, Trans Research Unit for Equity, Center for Public Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health 

Dr. Sean Arayasirikul is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). They are also a Senior Research Scientist at the Trans Research Unit for Equity (TRUE) and the Center for Public Health Research (CPHR) at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SF DPH). They earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology at UCSF and were a pre-doctoral Fellow at the Alcohol Research Group, University of California, Berkeley (UCB), a Minority Fellow of the American Sociological Association, and a Diversity Scholar of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS interventions (ATN). Dr. Arayasirikul is the PI or Co-PI of three current projects: 1) an NIAID DP2 New Innovator Award to develop and apply new methods and measures to characterize intersectional stigma for sexual and gender minorities of color (SGMoC) in the House and Ballroom Community (HBC) and optimize HIV prevention and care continua outcomes; 2) an NIMH R34 implementation science study to pilot a mobile screening and navigation intervention to improve utilization of substance use and mental health-related services among trans women living with HIV; and 3) an NIMH R25 training program, called SHINE Strong, to build the pipeline of HIV behavioral scientists with expertise in trans population health. 

Sarah Jackson HeadshotSeptember 2021: Sarah S. Jackson, PhD, MPH
Research Fellow, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute


Dr. Sarah S. Jackson has been a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) since May 2018. In May 2021, she was inducted into the NIH Independent Research Scholar Program, sponsored by the Office of Intramural Research. Dr. Jackson has a background in public health, with experiences in the DC Department of Health, Whitman-Walker Health, and AIDS Clinical Trials Group. She earned her PhD in epidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Jackson’s research interests include sex differences in cancer incidence and cancer risk and outcomes among transgender and non-binary individuals.
 
Jody Herman HeadshotJune 2021: Jody Herman, PhD
Scholar of Public Policy, Associate Researcher, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law


Jody L. Herman, Ph.D. is the Reid Rasmussen Fellow and a Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. Her research focuses on gender identity in survey research and the prevalence and impact of discrimination based on gender identity or expression, including minority stress, health, and suicidality among transgender people. She is a Co-Investigator on the U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey (TransPop), a nationally representative survey of transgender adults. She served as Co-Principal Investigator for the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey of transgender adults conducted in the United States to date. Her published research is routinely cited, including by major news sources, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from The George Washington University, where she also earned her M.A. in Public Policy.
 

Allen Malloryt HeadshotFebruary 2021: Allen Mallory, PhD
Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar, The Ohio State University


Allen Mallory is a Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar at The Ohio State University in the Department of Human Sciences. Allen received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Human Development and Family Sciences where he was also a trainee at the University of Texas Population Research Center. Allen’s research takes an intersectional approach in understanding the health and well-being of sexual and gender minorities. Specifically, he studies how health disparities vary among and between sexual and gender minorities across multiple marginalized identities and how the processes tied to multiple identities, such as discrimination, intersect to affect health. Dr. Mallory was funded by an F31 (F31MH115608) to investigate how race, gender, and sexual identity discrimination were independent and overlapping in their prospective associations with mental health.

 

Tonia Poteat HeadshotDecember 2020: Tonia Poteat, PhD, MPH, PA-C, DFAAPA
Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, Core Faculty in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research


Tonia Poteat is an Assistant Professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC), core faculty in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research, clinical preceptor for the Gender Affirming Clinic at UNC’s Student Health Action Coalition, and a Physician Assistant in the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic. Her research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on HIV and LGBTQ health with particular attention to the role of intersectional stigma in driving health disparities. Certified as an HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine, she is a global leader in HIV research and care with transgender persons. In 2019, she was named to the National Academies of Science Consensus Panel on the Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minorities. She has published numerous articles on HIV among transgender adults. She is an Associate Editor for the journal, LGBT Health and served as a guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of the International AIDS Society on HIV among transgender populations.

 

Billy Caceres HeadshotSeptember 2020: Billy A. Caceres, PhD, RN, FAHA
Assistant Professor, Program for the Study of LGBT Health, Columbia University School of Nursing


Dr. Billy A. Caceres is an Assistant Professor in the Program for the Study of LGBT Health at the Columbia University School of Nursing. Dr. Caceres’ research uses biobehavioral approaches to understand and reduce cardiovascular health disparities in stigmatized populations with a focus on sexual and gender minority (SGM) adults. He was the 2017 recipient of the American Heart Association’s Martha N. Hill New Investigator Award for his dissertation research on stress and cardiovascular disease risk in sexual minority women. Dr. Caceres recently served as the writing chair of the American Heart Association’s first scientific statement on the cardiovascular health of SGM adults. In 2019, Dr. Caceres began a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He is conducting an innovative study that uses a sibling design to examine the influence of adverse life experiences on physiological risk factors for cardiovascular disease in sexual minority women and their heterosexual sisters. His work on SGM cardiovascular health has been published in high-impact interdisciplinary journals. Dr. Caceres is a fellow of the American Heart Association and the New York Academy of Medicine. He received a PhD from New York University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Comparative and Cost-Effectiveness Research at Columbia University. Prior to completing his PhD, he worked as a cardiothoracic and vascular surgery nurse at New York University Langone Health.

 

Brian Mustanski HeadshotJuly 2020: Brian Mustanski, PhD
Director, Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing


Brian Mustanski, PhD is the founding Director of the Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, which has grown to be the largest LGBTQ health research institute in the US. He is a tenured Professor of Medical Social Sciences and Co-Director of the NIH Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).  His research focuses on the health and development of LGBTQ youth and the application of new media and technology to sexual health promotion and HIV prevention. He has been a Principal Investigator of nearly $60 million in federal (NIDA, NIMH, NIMHD, NIAID, NCI) and foundation grants and has published over 265 journal articles. He is a frequent advisor to federal agencies and other organizations on LGBTQ health and HIV prevention, including serving as an appointed member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Some recognitions for his work include being named a William T Grant Scholar and NBC News selecting him in 2017 from 1,600 nominees to their inaugural list of 30 changemakers and innovators making a positive difference in the LGBTQ community.

 

This page last reviewed on November 22, 2022