Seed Grant Award: Racial Justice in Gender, Sexuality, and Health

Walter Bockting, Claude Mellins, Robert Remien, Theodorus Sandfort, Psychiatry

Walter Bockting, Claude Mellins, Robert Remien, Theodorus Sandfort, Psychiatry

This project develops, implements, and evaluates the first year of a comprehensive racial justice initiative in the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health of Columbia Psychiatry. The project brings together faculty, staff, and trainees of the Program for the Study of LGBT Health, the HIV Center and AIDS Education and Training Program, as well as community partners to determine how research, clinical practice, education and training can contribute to reducing racial injustice and inequality and its consequences for the health and wellbeing of communities most affected, including those living with or at risk for HIV.

The goals of the project are to:

1. Establish a process for ongoing dialogue, needs assessment, and recommendations for specific programming to promote racial justice and equality in gender, sexuality, and health;

2. Implement and evaluate initiatives toward meeting the following five objectives:

  • Foster a climate of cultural competence and humility;
  • Recruit and retain racial/ethnic minority fellows, staff, and students, and develop of a strategy to recruit minority faculty members;
  • Invite speakers on racial justice in gender, sexuality, and health to monthly Rounds and seminars;
  • Lower barriers for racial/ethnic minorities to access clinical services of the Columbia Gender Identity Program; and
  • Expand the focus on racial justice in education and training.

3. Conduct research addressing gaps and needs to reduce inequities and disparities based on race/ethnicity in gender, sexuality, and health.

By embedding our new activities within existing programming, we plan to achieve a sustained effort to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moreover, we expect to have an impact on the field of gender, sexuality, and health, by diversifying the workforce and by advancing scientific knowledge and evidence-based interventions aimed at reducing racial/ethnic disparities in HIV, sexual health and wellbeing.

Spring 2021 Update:

The Working Group convened and submitted recommendations to the leadership group of the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health. The leadership reviewed and prioritized recommendations for implementation. 

A number of speakers were invited to speak at the HIV Center Rounds on the topic of racial justice and health; and the grant awardees participated in the Columbia University VP&S Anti-Racism Curriculum Summit. 

This project was funded through the Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.