Profile photo Walter Bockting

NIH Honors Bockting as Distinguished Investigator

Walter Bockting, PhD, received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health’s Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) in a virtual ceremony held on September 13, 2023. 

Bockting, a clinical psychologist, is an internationally known expert on health and aging among trans and nonbinary people across the life span. He directs the Program for the Study of LGBTQ+ Health at Columbia University School of Nursing and the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia Psychiatry and codirects the Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research at Columbia Nursing. He is also a professor of medical psychology (in psychiatry and nursing) at Columbia University, and principal investigator on four large National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies. 

The Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Research Investigator Awards Program was created in 2018 to honor outstanding research contributions to SGM health. In addition to presenting the Distinguished Investigator Award, the SGMRO honors two early-stage investigators each year. All awardees are invited to present a lecture at the event. 

“This award came as a very pleasant surprise; I consider it among the top honors I have ever received,” said Bockting, who has been conducting research in sexual and gender minority health since 1986. 

“My inspiration comes from my clinical work with LGBTQI+ individuals and their families; most of the questions guiding my research come from working with them and from being an integral part of the community.” 

Bockting’s current research focuses on identity development and health across the lifespan, the role of social connectedness in aging, and the impact of minority stress on mental health and cardiovascular disease risk, with the goal of translating research findings into interventions to promote health and wellbeing. 

“Each of my NIH-funded studies involves an interdisciplinary team of investigators, staff, students, and mentees; the talent and support at the Columbia School of Nursing make for an outstanding environment to pursue sexual and gender minority health research,” he said. “Indeed, it takes a village, and I could not be more grateful.”