Social Media Working Group

Started in 2017 and directed by Dr. Kathryn Macapagal, ISGMH’s Social Media Working Group (SMWG) consists of an interdisciplinary team of Northwestern scholars, students, and staff involved in projects related to social media and SGM populations. Social media is increasingly present in people’s lives. For SGM people in particular, social media and other online spaces can play a critical role in identity exploration and formation, health information seeking, access to social support, and seeking/forming romantic and sexual relationships. Yet social media also has drawbacks, such as facilitating online harassment or bullying, sexual risk, or providing misinformation. Our members seek to understand the role social media plays in SGM individuals’ lives. Further, we hope to identify strategies that leverage social media in order to promote health and wellbeing, while reducing its negative impacts.

Current members include faculty, students, and staff from the Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Communication, School of Education and Social Policy, and ISGMH. Our members are involved in research on SGM adolescents’ use of geosocial networking applications and its associations with sexual health, wellbeing, and identity development; context collapse and self-presentation among SGM individuals using different social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram; and perspectives of parents of SGM adolescents on social media messaging to increase PrEP awareness. Our members also utilize social media for recruitment, retention, and dissemination of research.


Kathryn Macapagal, PhD
Jeremy Birnholtz, PhD
David Moskowitz, PhD


Postdoctoral fellows,
graduate students, and staff

Ashley Kraus, PhD
Mike DeVito, PhD
Kyle Jozsa
Addie Shrodes
Ashley Walker
Kai Korpak
Melissa Mongrella
Leishla Perez-Cardona


  • Looking (PI: Kathryn Macapagal; Funder: Sexualities Project at Northwestern)
  • PrEP School (PI: Jeremy Birnholtz; Funder: Delaney Foundation)
  • PrEPping Parents for PrEP (PI: David Moskowitz; Funder: Third Coast Center for AIDS Research)