The IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program was founded by director Dr. Brian Mustanski in 2008. The IMPACT Program’s mission is to conduct translational research that improves the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and to increase understanding of the development of sexual orientation and gender identity. We seek to achieve this mission by developing innovative, evidence-based interventions; collaborating with the LGBT community; training the next generation of LGBT scholars; and disseminating research findings to scientific and general audiences.
Developing Innovative, Evidence-Based Interventions
The IMPACT Program studies resiliency, sexual health, mental health, and substance use, with a primary focus on LGBT adolescents and young adults. Developing innovative research studies and interventions, in particular by harnessing the power of technology and the Internet, is at the core of the program. The IMPACT Program has a significant focus on HIV prevention among young gay/bisexual men and seeks to see our interventions implemented to help bend the curve on new infections in this population. As such the IMPACT Program works closely with the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research and the Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology. Dr. Mustanski co-directs both of these centers.
Collaborating with the LGBT Community
Extensive community ties have been a hallmark of the IMPACT Program since its inception, and we collaborate with several community-based organizations throughout Chicago. One of the closest partnerships is with the Center on Halsted, the most comprehensive LGBT resource center in the Midwest. IMPACT has an office and a clinical lab located at Center on Halsted, where several studies are housed, creating a welcoming environment for study participants and facilitating the translation of research into practice.
Training the Next Generation of LGBT Scholars
Each year, the IMPACT Program trains and mentors graduate and medical students, postdoctoral scholars, and early stage investigators via a number of structured programs, and hosts undergraduate and graduate interns for research, web, and health communications projects. In 2013, IMPACT began hosting the nation’s first clinical psychology internship track focused on LGBT health, to lead the way in training future leaders in culturally competent health research, education, and clinical care.
Disseminating Research Findings
In addition to traditional scientific channels, IMPACT disseminates information on the award winning IMPACT Program website, which hosts various resources including sex-positive and community-focused videos and hundreds of blogs on topics of interest to LGBT youth and families. We actively promote our research, findings, and translational activities through social media.
Current Research Projects
- ASAP Research Study Assistant June 26, 2017