Dr. Rodman Turpin Discusses Recent LGBTQ+ Research
Epidemiology and Biostatistics Assistant Research Professor Dr. Rodman Turpin (he/him) found his passion for HIV prevention and health equity fairly early in life. “I have always had a deep investment in the health of my community, the Black gay, bisexual, queer, and same-gender loving community,” Dr. Turpin said. Through his post-undergraduate work in medical laboratory science, he learned that research can be a powerful way to advocate for the health of marginalized populations.
His role as an investigator with the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC) was a natural fit. The UMD-PRC is committed to research, service, and training around issues of mental health among LGBTQ+ communities. Its mission is to eliminate existing health disparities and related social injustices experienced by LGBTQ+ persons. This mission is directly related to Dr. Turpin’s core research on how social determinants of health impact HIV, STIs, and related factors among sexual minority men, especially Black sexual minority men. “Mental health is a core factor related to these and has been a major component of virtually every study I've produced to date,” Dr. Turpin explained.
This connection to mental health is evident in Dr. Turpin’s most recent publications. One article, "Substance Use and Suicide Attempts among Adolescent Sexual Minority Males: A Comparison of Synthesized Substance Use Measures," published in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined different methods approaches to substance use measures among young sexual minority males. Dr. Turpin said, “This was quite important to me since it not only highlighted the critical relevance of substance use and suicide prevention in this population, but also had some unique implications for research practice.
Another recent publication in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, "Victimization, Substance Use, Depression, and Sexual Risk in Adolescent Males Who Have Sex With Males: A Syndemic Latent Profile Analysis," similarly highlighted how experiences of victimization, depression, and substance use interact and their relationship to higher sexual risk behaviors. Both studies emphasize that mental health factors, as well as factors that impact mental health, are critical to the overall health of young sexual minority males.
As Dr. Turpin continues conducting research in service to his community, he is focusing increasingly on incorporating intersectionality theory, including how the intersections of race and sexual minority status among Black sexual minority men are associated with experiences of homophobia, racism, and related health outcomes. “I am especially interested in novel approaches to analyzing intersectional identities and associated health factors, including latent variable analyses. I plan on employing this theory more in future studies related to discrimination and mental health among Black sexual minority men,” Turpin explained.