Young Scientists Shine at the 2012 LGBTQ Health and Wellness Conference!
Hosted by Center on Halsted in Chicago, co-organized by the IMPACT Program at Northwestern University and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Institute (SOGI) at Center on Halsted, and co-sponsored by a number of Chicago-area universities and health centers.
8:45AM Friday, November 30th, conference attendees fill the third floor atrium of Center on Halsted – checking in, fixing name tags, and finding their way to coffee, bagels, and a community of supporters and researchers. This event, one of the first of its kind at the center, was so successful organizers hope to make it an annual event. They would love to see more young researchers become a part of this growing and vibrant community of students and scientists.
Notable events from this year’s conference included:
- The release of IMPACT Program’s White Paper reporting on specific health disparities currently facing LGBT youth and recommended actions for addressing solutions.
- Leadership from the Chicago Department of Public Health attended and released the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) report, “Vital Signs,” on youth’s disproportionately high rates of HIV infection and, alternately, low rates of getting tested.
- The presentation of awards to young researchers; Johnny Berona, from University of Michigan, received first place for his work on “Alcohol Use, Social Connectedness, and Acquired Capacity for Enacting Lethal Self-Harm: A Prospective Study of Suicidality in Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Adolescents”, and the second place award went to David McCarty-Caplan, from The University of Illinois at Chicago, for his work on “MSM and Drug Use: A Latent Class Analysis of Drug Use and Related Sexual Risk Behaviors.”
Attendees included students and postdoctoral researchers, community organizers, healthcare providers, the Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Public Health, and other nationally recognized scientists. It was a chance for those just emerging in their scientific careers to gather together and share new ideas with those directly involved in current research, and actively supporting it. There were 160 people in attendance, of which 15 were lead presenters. These presenters consisted of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and one undergraduate student.
Emily Smith, who presented with the IMPACT Program, is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University. Ms. Smith actively assisted with the research, writing and presentation at this year’s conference. Co-organizer, Dr. Brian Mustanski, was thrilled and expressed his hope that more undergrads would be encouraged to attend as supporters and participants – as this conference is the perfect place for young scientists to find support, connection, and a starting point for making a difference in the future of LGBT healthcare in the U.S.
Use the link to Flickr to see all photos from the 2012 LGBTQ Conference: 2012 LGBTQ Conference Photo Album.
This post was written by Robin Morrissey.