Research Studies

The Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research’s (CSGMHR) research spans a broad range of SGM health concerns, with particular expertise in sexual minority women’s health; transgender and nonbinary individual’s health’ social relationships (e.g., partner, family, chosen family and friends); multiple chronic conditions, particularly cardiovascular health; and the intersections between mental and physical health. The center also conducts research concerning identity development across the lifespan, cognitive reserve, and resilience. Work incorporates multiple disciplinary and theoretical perspectives and includes researchers and trainees at all levels. Below are some of the center’s currently funded studies.

Biobehavioral Health

An mHealth-Based Data Science Approach to Examine the Association of Minority Stressors with Sleep Health in Black and Latinx Sexual and Gender Minority Adults

Principal Investigator: Billy Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN

Funded by: Columbia University Data Science Institute [Pilot Award]

The purpose of this study is to test the feasibility of collecting ecological momentary assessment data on minority stressors and sleep health over 30 days in Black and Latinx SGM adults. We will also test the computational performance of personalized models to predict sleep health outcomes from minority stressors. 

Examining Associations of Sexual Identity, Life Experiences, and CVD Risk in Sisters

Principal Investigator: Billy Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN

Funded by: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [K01 HL146965]

This study will examine the associations of sexual identity, adverse life experiences, and resilience factors with cardiovascular disease risk in sexual minority women and their biological heterosexual sisters.

Exploring Psychosocial and Epigenetic Influences on Blood Pressure in Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ Adults

Principal Investigator: Billy Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN

Funded by: Columbia University Irving Medical Center [Junior Faculty Award]

The purpose of this study is to test the associations of minority stressors with epigenetic changes in the expression of candidate genes associated with hypertension in a sample of Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ adults. We will link daily diary assessments of minority stressors and self-monitoring of home blood pressure with saliva samples to examine these associations. Findings from this study will identify biological mechanisms that might drive the cardiovascular health disparities previously documented in Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ adults.

Impact of Minority Stress on Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Resilience

Multiple Principal Investigators: Walter Bockting, PhD, and Donald Edmondson, PhD

Center Collaborators: Billy Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN, and Kasey Jackman, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC

Funded by: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [R01-HL151559]

This study will be the first to determine the relationship between minority stress, resilience, mental health, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (blood pressure, sleep and physical activity, tobacco use, and BMI) in a diverse sample of the U.S. gender minority population, using both self-report and objectively measured data. Findings will inform the development and testing of future intervention strategies aimed at reducing CVD risk and promoting the health and wellbeing of this and other vulnerable populations.

Interpersonal- and Community-Level Risk Factors for Adolescent Obesity: An Examination of Sexual Identity, School Violence, and School Climate in a Large Sample of Urban Adolescents

Principal Investigator: April Ancheta, MPhil, RN, BSN

Advisor: Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN

Funded by: National Institute of Nursing Research [F31 NR019432]

This Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship –supported study will test relationships between school violence (interpersonal-level risk) and school climate (community-level risk) on obesity among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents. Findings will be used to inform the design of targeted, evidence-based interventions to promote positive school climates and prevent or reduce school violence, ultimately lowering risk of obesity among and their heterosexual peers.

Precision in Symptom Self-Management (PriSSM) Center: Sleep and Fatigue among Latino Transgender People

Pilot Study Investigator: Kasey Jackman, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC

Funded by: National Institute of Nursing Research [P30 NR016587]

The PriSSM Center (MPIs, Bakken & Smaldone) focuses on symptom self-management among Latinx populations since this is an underserved and underresearched group. Multiple types of data will be analyzed to examine the effects of stress from discrimination on sleep and fatigue among Latinx transgender people. 

Behavioral Health, Mental Health, and Substance Use

A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Stress and Hazardous Drinking Among Same-Sex/Gender Couples

Principal Investigator: Cindy Veldhuis, PhD

Funded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [K99 AA028049]

The goal of this study is to conduct individual and couple interviews among same-sex/gender couples  to understand the role and impact of alcohol within relationships and the stressors and strains on same-sex/gender couples.

Impact of Supportive Policies on Minority Stress, Drinking and Health Among Women

Principal Investigator: Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN

Center Collaborators: Cindy Veldhuis, PhD, and Lauren Bochicchio, PhD, MSW

Funded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [R01 AA013328]

This study will evaluate the impact on SMW’s drinking and health of the 2015 historic Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and will take advantage of a longitudinal dataset spanning more than 20 years to examine the associations of long-term drinking trajectories and SMW’s health.

Stress, Hazardous Drinking, and Intimate Partner Aggression in a Diverse Sample of Women and their Partners

Principal Investigator: Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN

Center Collaborators: Cindy Veldhuis, PhD, and Lauren Bochicchio, PhD, MSW

Funded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [R01 AA027252]

This study is recruiting sexual minority women from the longitudinal Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW) study and their partners to examine the role of alcohol use in intimate partner aggression.

Learn More About the CHLEW Study

Social Support

Perinatal Social Support Among Sexual and Gender Minority Childbearing Parents

Principal Investigator: Kodiak Soled, RN, MSN

Funded by: AWHONN Every Women, Every Baby Award & Hill-Rom Celeste Phillips Family-Centered Maternity Care Award [Small Grant Award]

This study uses three qualitative interviews as well as photovoice methods to understand social support among a diverse cohort of sexual and gender minority gestational parents from the second through fourth trimester of the perinatal period.

Perinatal Social Support in Underserved and Minority Populations

Principal Investigator: Kodiak Soled, RN, MSN

Advisor: Walter Bockting, PhD

Funded by: National Institute of Nursing Research [F31 NR019203]

The goals of this longitudinal, qualitative study are to: (1) describe multidimensional social support among sexual and gender minority gestational parents across the perinatal period and (2) characterize sexual and gender minority gestational parents' perceptions of gaps in and assets of perinatal social support through photos.

Social Convoys, Cognitive Reserve and Resilience, and Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Principal Investigator: Walter Bockting, PhD

Funded by: National Institute on Aging [R01 AG069041]

The purpose of this study is to compare cognitive test performance of a community sample of age-matched LGBT and non-LGBT adults and to examine the role of minority stress and related risks and assets in cognitive aging in these two identity groups.