Course Descriptions

PSYD 6201. Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to LGBT Health and Well-Being   (2 credits)

Students study LGBT health and well-being from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (e.g., medicine, public health, psychology, and women’s studies).  The course focuses on health status and outcomes at both the individual and community levels in three major ways. Explored are mechanisms by which social mistreatment of LGBT individuals (i.e., discrimination) “gets under the skin” to affect health behaviors and health outcomes, how the healthcare setting both improves and detracts from LGBT health at population and individual levels as well as the specific illnesses and medical processes of concern to members of these groups (e.g., HIV/AIDS, cancer, substance use, gender transition). The course also adopts an inter-sectional analysis of sexual orientation and gender identity with race, social class, and age whenever possible within our analysis. This course is open only to LGBT Health Policy & Practice program students. 


PSYD 6202. Our Psychology, Ourselves: LGBT Mental Health (2 credits)

This course educates students of diverse backgrounds with foundational concepts that will equip them to be thought leaders and change agents on LGBT mental health issues in mental health, health policy, physical healthcare, and related professional settings.  From an LGBT-affirmative perspective, we will examine topics in LGBT psychological and identity development; mental health issues specific to LGBT communities; how LGBT identity can shape experiences of mental health services; effective approaches to LGBT mental health care; and mental health prevention and promotion in LGBT communities. Issues of the intersection between LGBT identity, other minority identities, and disability will receive particular focus. This course is open to GW graduate students and to undergraduate students with instructor permission. 


PSYD 6203. Health Policy for the LGBT Population (2 credits)

In this course, we will examine various health policy issues with relevance to LGBT populations including health reform, marriage equality, HIV/AIDS, hate crimes, and transgender health policy. We will address the ways in which LGBT individuals and couples are treated unequally in federal policy and how that impacts health and experiences with health care. We will also explore the various ways in which government can play a role in advancing equality for LGBT health and health care with policies that lessen inequality and enhance the lives of LGBT individuals, couples, and families.

The role of the three branches of government will be covered as will the role of politics. This course is meant to be very practical. Assignments are focused on developing skills for influencing policy at the federal, state/local level, and institutional level. In this vein, readings are drawn from a variety of think tanks and advocacy organizations and less from academe. This course is open only to LGBT Health Policy & Practice program students. 


PSYD 6211. LGBT Health Capstone Project (3 credits)

Students work with faculty mentors to conceive of, design, and develop an implementation and evaluation plan for a project, innovation or work product in their place of employment, other sponsoring organization, or community setting. The output of this effort will be a product that will advance the health of LGBT persons in a real world context. A student may, for example: create a social networking application for HIV prevention and delivering it to clients through an AIDS Service Organization; or develop policy advocacy strategy and implement it on Capitol Hill; or create a training program for educating teachers and administrators and apply it in a public high school.  Students will work with mentors at in-person consultations in the Summer Residency and Spring Residency with distance and in-the-field completion of the project throughout the program year.This course is open only to LGBT Health Policy & Practice program students. 


PSYD 6221.10 Transgender Health (1 or 2 credits)

This 1-credit course will introduce students to contemporary, trans-affirmative perspectives on the health, mental health, and policy needs of trans(gender) people and their communities. Trans people are often marginalized in the LGBT community and in the society at large and are often targets of violent and vicious oppression. It is at the intersection between these two powerful sets of realities that trans people’s health issues are located, and that our course takes up its work, exploring core issues in the psychology and psychological health, physical health, and healthcare experiences of trans people, and related issues of policy and healthcare system design.

Our in-person sessions will equip students with a foundational conceptual understanding of core trans health issues, in their multifaceted complexity and their physical health, mental health, and policy/care systems dimensions, and also with emerging skills for integrating relevant scientific findings, advocating for trans issues in the contexts and settings in which students work, and developing students’ competencies to advance their aspirations to work on trans issues in domains relevant to them. Structured assignments, scaffolded by self-guided readings and regular tutorial tele-meetings with the instructor, will assist toward these aims. In a final group tele-meeting, we will share and learn from each other’s experiences “taking it to the streets” and build further on the successes and insights students have developed, work together on understanding and overcoming the obstacles they have faced, and launch students’ future plans to work as professionals and advocates addressing trans health issues. This course is open to non-program students with instructor permission.


PSYC 6221.11 Health of Sexual Minority Youth (1 or 2 credits)

This course will provide students with an overview of the medical, psychological, and social health issues that face lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and other sexual minority youth. This course will examine approaches for intervention and interaction with the LGBT youth population aimed at improving access to culturally competent care and health outcomes for youth. This course will examine current policy issues regarding sexual minority youth and provide strategies and skills to prepare students to be thought leaders and change agents on LGBT youth health issues in mental health, health policy, and related professional settings. This course will specifically examine the intersection of racial, ethnic, and other disempowered identities within the youth population, topics in LGBT psychological and identity development; mental health issues specific to LGBT youth communities. Students will develop skills in leading change projects related to LGBT sexual minority health issues in their current or potential work settings.


PSYC 6221.DE Health of Sexual Minority Men (1 or 2 credits)

This course will introduce the student to health disparities affecting sexual minority men.  A personalized selection of a relevant topic to each student’s professional needs might include mental health, alcohol and drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, syndemic production, aging, social discrimination, violence victimization and child sexual abuse, and optimizing and obtaining culturally competent health care. The backbone of the course will allow the student to identify a focused topic, to be more fully developed so as to be translatable and transportable to his/her professional needs.

PSYC 6221.DE1 Rural LGBT Health (1 or 2 credits)

This course will provide an intersectional analysis of health care barriers encountered across the lifespan by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals living in rural communities.  We will examine how a rural context can affect human development and understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  We will discuss how isolation in rural communities affects coping methods for navigating complex and often conflicting macro social identities (race, ethnicity, social class, religion, and other important social identities). A lifespan approach will help guide discussions of public health policies or healthcare practices that may reinforce barriers to culturally competent rural healthcare. We will discuss approaches for intervention, and strategies to create or improve LGBT culturally competent health professionals across the service line in rural communities. This course will also explore the impact of social policy difference (i.e. marriage, custody, employment, and housing) between states within the US. International health care practices, policy, and advocacy efforts will be examined for efforts to improve LGBT global health outcomes for rural LGBT communities.