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Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and WellbeingHistory

The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) was founded in 2015 and is the first university-wide institute in the country focused exclusively on research to improve the health of the sexual and gender minority (SGM) community. ISGMH grew from director Dr. Brian Mustanski’s IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program, which has been conducting state-of-the art translational research with SGM youth populations since 2008. It was founded with the support of the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research, and the Feinberg School of Medicine.


To create a world where SGM communities have equitable opportunities to live healthy and fulfilling lives. To be a global leader in using research to foster understanding of the development and experiences of SGM individuals and improve the health and wellbeing of SGM communities.


As a university-wide institute, our mission is to connect scholars from numerous disciplines with SGM communities to facilitate collaborations and stimulate innovative research to improve SGM health and wellbeing. The institute provides unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research and training for the next generation of SGM scholars. We aim to share our expert knowledge widely with SGM communities and the wider public, practitioners, scientists, and policymakers.

I want to talk about how seminal the establishment of this institute is at Northwestern. For a fairly new research area, such as sexual and gender minority health, it’s critical to get universities that are committed across multiple offices and departments, and I think this is going to be the first of hopefully many universities that step up to the plate to say that this is a really critical research area. ”

– Dr. Karen L. Parker, PhD, MSW, Director of the National Institute of Health’s Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office, delivering the keynote address at ISGMH’s State of LGBT Health Symposium on August 18, 2016.