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A large part of the Prevention Research Center involves conducting research examing mental health and health care issues that plague and are unique to the LGBTQ+ population. Below you can find a list of the PRC's projects as well as projects from partners of the PRC. Please contact the Primary Investigator (PI) if you have any questions.

Standards of care for LGBTQ+ clients are evolving and mental health service providers need to know the latest and most effective methods to provide the highest levels of clients care. The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center has completed a trial with several organizations that provide mental and behavioral health services to LGBTQ+ clients. These organizations served as test sites for a new organizational assessment and educational program. 

We are beginning to publish papers and progress reports about our research! Check them out below:

Sexual and Gender Diversity Learning Community Implementation Project (SGDLC)

PI: Jessica Fish, Co-PIs: Michael Vigorito, Sean Lare, Brad Boekeloo, John Salerno

This study seeks to evaluate the quality and implementation of an evidence-informed LGBTQ cultural competency training for mental health care providers. 


Simulated Patient Assessment and Feedback for Mental Health Provider LBGTQ+ Cultural Sensitivity

PI: Richard Shin, Co-PIs: Mia Smith-Bynum, Liz Aparicio, Brad Boekeloo

The purpose of this study is to assess the LGBTQ+ cultural competency skills of mental health clinicians who will receive the SGDLC training versus a control group of clinicians who will not. Another key aim of the study is to develop an evaluation tool for assessing LGBTQ+ cultural competencies among mental health professionals. 


Amazon Turk:  LGBTQ+ Mental Health Care Needs Assessment

PI: Travis Hyams, Co-PIs: Evelyn King-Marshall, Jessica Fish, Brad Boekeloo

National survey assessing mental health care needs and experiences in care for LGBTQ+ individuals. The survey will oversample for individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ to ensure adequate representation. The survey will explore questions related to discrimination, experiences in mental health care and sexual/gender identity. 


Mental Health Professional Association LGBTQ+ Policies and Guidelines Analysis

PI: Natasha Williams, Co-PIs: Jessica Fish, Brad Boekeloo, Liz Aparicio, Mia Smith-Bynum

The purpose of this study is to examine the protections for sexual and gender minorities in the institutional policies of mental health professional organizations. Through template analysis of the accreditation standards and ethical guidelines for nine mental health professions, we document differences in non-discrimination language, professional development expectations, training program competencies and service delivery protections as they relate to sexual and gender minorities. Recommendations for the inclusion and enumeration of SGM identities to follow. 


LGBTQ Mental Health in National Datasets; Secondary Data Analyses

PI: Rod Turpin, Co-PI: Min Qi Wang

This project involves the analysis of several secondary datasets containing sexual identity and mental health-related measures. Using these datasets, we will produce research aimed to answer questions related to mental health among sexual minority populations.


UMD-PRC Mentoring Program

Team: Natasha Williams, Brad Boekeloo, Sharon Desmond, John Salerno

The goals of this program are to: 

(1) develop educational and mentoring experiences for all undergraduate and graduate students that will improve their ability to conduct mental health research with the LGBTQ+ population; 

(2) provide programs and mentoring to assist LGBTQ+ student and faculty scholars navigate a career path in academia; and

(3) develop and disseminate best practices in the mentoring of LGBTQ+ scholars.


Webinar Needs Assessment

PI: Brad Boekeloo, UMD-PRC Stakeholder Leads: Liz Aparicio, Richard Shin, John Salerno, Sean Lare, Mia Smith-Bynum, Erin McClure, Rod Turpin, Jessica Fish, Michael Vigorito

This assessment will determine the current needs for LGBT clients and providers, resources available for LGBT clients and providers and gaps in practice and research that the UMD-PRC can address.

Sexual Health in Recovery (SHIR)

PI: Brad Boekeloo, Team: Evelyn King-Marshall, David Hawthorne

In collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health, the UMD-PRC will conduct a multiphase evaluation of the Sexual Health in Recovery (SHIR) program, a treatment program among numerous drug addiction facilities throughout the state of Maryland. The SHIR curriculum aims to increase diagnosis and treatment of HIV, increase retention in substance abuse treatment and reduce co-existing risky sexual behaviors and drug relapse.


PRC COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Project

Co-PIs: Cynthia Baur, Jessica Fish Team: Sandy Saperstein, external collaborators

The PRC has received additional CDC funding for a multi-project, multi-population plan to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence in Maryland and nationally, with LGBTQ community centers. This project will help health departments and LGBTQ-serving organizations implement behavioral nudges and remove barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This project consists of two major arms, one that leverages CenterLink's national network of LGBTQ community centers, and one that builds on existing relationships with Local Health Improvement Coalitions (LHICs) in Maryland counties.


AAMC Health Equity Research Project

PI: Jessica Fish, Team: Rod Turpin, Brad Boekeloo, Natasha Williams

Using population-based data, this study seeks to document sexual orientation and gender identity differences in mental health and health care access and experiences in the United States.  


Availability of LGBT-Specific Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

PI: Natasha Williams, Team: Jessica Fish

This project uses two national surveys of state-approved mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities to examine the availability of LGBT-specific mental health and substance abuse treatment in the United States.


Community-Based Services for Queer People of Color

PI: Natasha Williams, Team: Jessica Fish, external collaborators

This project utilizes data from a 2018 survey of LGBTQ community-based organizations to document organizational characteristics associated with offering services specifically for queer people of color.


Fostering Healthy Relationships

PI: Liz Aparicio, Team: Brad Boekeloo, John Salerno, Jessica Fish

This community-based participatory research project seeks to explore the sexual and mental health needs of youth in foster care from the perspectives of youth, parents and staff to inform the development of an innovative multi-level health intervention for foster youth. To improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ youth in foster care, the current study also seek to learn more about the sexual and mental health needs of sexual and gender minority youth. The project is a collaboration between University of Maryland researchers and students and multiple community partner agencies that serve foster youth.


CDC Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Programs for Community Based

PI: Sylvia Quinton

The purpose of this CDC program is to implement comprehensive HIV prevention programs to
reduce morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities in accordance with the Ending the HIV
Epidemic Initiative: A Plan for America and CDC’s High-Impact HIV Prevention approach. This
NOFO focuses on addressing the national HIV epidemic by reducing new infections, increasing
access to care, and promoting health equity. The aforementioned will be achieved by enhancing
community-based organizations’ capacities to increase HIV testing and referrals to Partner
Services, link person with HIV to HIV medical care and ART, provide or refer prevention and
essential support services, including SSPs, for persons with HIV and persons at risk for acquiring
HIV, and increase program monitoring and accountability.

  • Access to Racial and Cultural Health Institute, Inc. (ARCH)

ARCH is a 501C3 organization located in the US Virgin Islands (St. Croix). ARCH is one of the leading community-based providers of HIV prevention services in USVI. The population to engage in activities is African American (Black), African Caribbean, and Hispanic/Latino Men Having Sex with Men (MSM) between the age of 18 to 30. ARCH proposes to use a Community Health Worker Approach to reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care, and promote health equity through increasing HIV testing and referrals to Partner Services, link persons with HIV to HIV medical care and ART, provide/refer prevention/essential services, including SSPs, for persons with HIV and persons at risk for acquiring HIV. The MSM CHWs will be trained to deliver the comprehensive HIV Prevention Core Services Plan.

  • One L.U.V (Love, Unity and Victory for the Silent Voices), Inc.

One L.U.V. was established in 2016 as a student LGBTI organization at University of Virgin Islands. The mission is to provide resources and promote cultural sensitivity to the LGBTI Virgin Islander and its allies; to provide community for LGBTI citizens and to advocate on LGBTI related laws through collaboration with other entities whose goals align with the organization; and to engage in projects for the collective benefit of the members, including organizing and planning recognition events and other activities.


Gold Award Project

PI: Natasha Williams, Team: Jessica Fish

The proposal seeks to evaluate the process and implementation of a pilot digital chat platform for LGBTQ young people (Q Chat Space: The Digital LGBTQ+ Center for Youth). Findings will help inform the digital interface and systematic delivery of the Q Chat Space program.


HIV Risk and Linkage to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) at KPGA

PI: Brad Boekeloo, Team: Mona Mittal, Min Qi Wang, Tina Davis, Brandi Robinson

The purpose of this research is to examine individual and partner level risk factors for HIV among Kaiser Permanente Georgia (KPGA) members. This research can provide guidance on next steps for connecting more eligible KPGA members to PrEP.



PI: Brad Boekeloo, Team: John Salerno, Michael Vigorito, Sean Lare

The IMPACT DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) Coalition aims to provide a holistic health and wellness system to strengthen and support LGBTQ persons of color in healthy decision making, especially in regard to sexual health. Our UMD-PRC team works to explore and identify LGBTQ healthcare barriers and challenges and implement and evaluate a LGBTQ healthcare cultural competency program in the DMV area.


LGBTQ Community Centers and Programs

PI: Jessica Fish, Team: Natasha Williams, external collaborators 

This mixed-method project examines LGBTQ youth-serving community based centers around the country to document their service provision efforts and impact.


LGBQ Family Socialization

PI: Jessica Fish, Team: Mia Smith-Bynum, Natasha Williams, external collaborators

Funded by the Lesbian Health Fund (GLMA) this project explores the potential protective effects of positive parental messaging regarding sexual minority girls’ sexual minority identities and whether these practices buffer the negative effects of LGBQ-related discrimination on mental health and substance use. 


Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Latinx Immigrant Youth

PI: John Salerno, Co-I: Brad Boekeloo

This project is an evaluation of a mental health and acculturation intervention to improve wellbeing and integration and increase high school success and higher education pursuit among Latinx immigrant youth attending high school.


Mental Health and Victimization Among Latinx LGBT Youth

PI: John Salerno, Co-Is: Brad Boekeloo, Liz Aparicio, Fryer, Getrich, Jessica Fish

This project is a mixed-methods study that includes a cross-sectional examination of Latinx LGBT youths’ mental health and victimization experiences using state and district data and a qualitative study that seeks to explore mental health and victimization among Latinx LGBT immigrant youth.


SGM Youth Substance Use: Subgroup differences, risk and protective factors

PI: Jessica Fish, Team: external collaborators

This study (1R03DA046827) examines how sexual and gender minority youth experiences of distal and proximal minority stressors are associated with substance use (i.e., alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and polysubstance use) and the potential protective influence of family and teacher support. 


Population Health Trends among Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Adults

PI: Jessica Fish, Team: external collaborators

This project explores trends in mental, behavioral and physical health among heterosexual and sexual minority adults from the early 2000s to 2015 using three population-based datasets.

Knowledge to Action (K2A) framework diagram

What is K2A? 

The Knowledge to Action (K2A) framework is a multidisciplinary CDC created model to promote the translation of research into practice.  This framework is especially designed to describe the process for practitioners and researchers to advance evidence-based practices from the research stage into actionable and usable interventions.

Why use K2A?

The UMD-PRC is using the K2A framework because it provides a clear roadmap to guide UMD-PRC research from discovery to application of research.

What are the components of K2A?

PHASE 1 RESEARCH: Developing and testing an intervention to determine if it is likely to be effective in its application. This phase may be nonlinear to allow for revision and additional testing.

There are three different types of phase 1 research studies:

1) Discovery Studies: Result in original findings that spur the development of an intervention

  • Amazon Turk: LGBTQ+ Mental Health Care Needs Assessment
  • Mental Health Professional Association LGBTQ+ Policies and Guidelines Analysis
  • LGBTQ Mental Health in National Datasets; Secondary Data Analyses
  • Webinar Needs Assessment
  • AAMC Health Equity Research Project
  • Availability of LGBT-Specific Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Fostering Healthy Relationships
  • LGBQ Family Socialization
  • Mental Health and Victimization Among Latinx LGBT Youth
  • SGM Youth Substance Use: Subgroup differences, risk and protective factors
  • Population Health Trends among Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Adults
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Latinx Immigrant Youth
  • Community-Based Services for Queer People of Color

2) Practice-based Discovery and Efficacy Studies: Identify practice-based opportunities for improved disease prevention and health. Use these discoveries to develop interventions that are likely to be effective under optimal conditions.

  • SGDLC Pilot Study
  • LGBTQ Mental Health Competencies
  • Pre-Implementation Project (PrIP) 
  • HIV Risk and Linkage to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) at KPGA
  • LGBTQ Community Centers and Programs

3) Effectiveness and Implementation Studies: Identify if the benefits of interventions expected under optimal conditions are also achieved in real-world settings. Assess the processes by which research findings are put into practice.

  • SGDLC Implementation Project
  • Simulated Client Assessment
  • Sexual Health in Recovery (SHIR)
  • CDC Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Programs for Community Based Organizations
  • Gold Award Project

PHASE 2 TRANSLATION: Outlines the steps and processes needed to implement evidence-based programs on a wider scale and for new audiences. This step includes practitioners and researchers ensuring that products are applicable, feasible, and adequately resourced. 

UMD-PRC will embark on these studies as it progresses through the K2A framework.

PHASE 3 INSTITUTIONALIZATION: Establishes organizational and systems support for long term adoption and maintenance. 

UMD-PRC will embark on these studies as it progresses through the K2A framework.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Applying the Knowledge to Action (K2A) Framework: Questions to Guide Planning. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2014.

Field, B., Booth, A., Ilott, I. et al. Using the Knowledge to Action Framework in practice: a citation analysis and systematic review. Implementation Sci 9, 172 (2014).

Wilson KM, Brady TJ, Lesesne C, on behalf of the NCCDPHP Work Group on Translation. An organizing framework for translation in public health: the Knowledge to Action Framework. Prev Chronic Dis 2011;8(2):A46.