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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.


We are a leader in research that fosters understanding of the development and experiences of SGM individuals and improves the health and wellbeing of the SGM community. Sexual and gender minorities include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people – anyone whose sexual or gender identity does not conform to social majority categories of sexual orientation or gender.


As a university-wide institute, our mission is to connect scholars from numerous disciplines with the SGM community to forge collaborations and stimulate innovative research to improve SGM health and wellbeing. The institute provides unique opportunities for high-level research and training for the next generation of SGM scholars. The institute utilizes innovative modalities to disseminate knowledge widely to the SGM community, the public at large, scholars, service providers, educators, 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, Ph.D., M.S.W., 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.