Course Offerings

Required Core Courses

PSYD 6201: Multidisciplinary Approaches to LGBT Health and Well-Being

Students in this course 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. 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 health care 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 intersectional analysis of sexual orientation and gender identity with race, social class and age whenever possible.

PSYD 6202: LGBT Mental Health

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 health policy, physical health care and related professional settings. From an LGBT-affirmative perspective, students 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: LGBT Health Policy

This course examines various health policy issues with relevance to LGBT populations including health reform, marriage equality, HIV/AIDS, hate crimes and transgender health policy. Coursework addresses the ways in which LGBT individuals and couples are treated unequally in federal policy and how that impacts health and experiences with health care. Also covered are 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, couple, and families. This course is meant to be practical. Assignments are focused on developing skills for influencing policy at the federal, state/local level and institutional level.

PSYD 6211: LGBT Health Capstone Project


Please see details on the Capstone page.

Elective Courses

PSYD 6221.10: Transgender Health

This course provides a foundational, conceptual understanding of core trans health issues, in their multifaceted complexity and their physical health, mental health and policy/care systems dimensions. 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 health care experiences of trans people, and related issues of policy and health care system design. Our in-person sessions will equip students with a foundational conceptual understanding of core trans health issues 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 competencies to help students pursue professional work on trans issues.

PSYD 6221-11: Health of Sexual Minority Youth

In this course, students examine approaches for intervention and interaction with the LGBT youth population aimed at improving access to culturally competent care and health outcomes for youth. Course material provides 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 specifically examines the intersection of racial, ethnic and other disempowered identities within the youth population; topics in LGBT psychological and identity development; and mental health issues specific to LGBT youth communities. Students develop skills in leading change projects related to LGBT sexual minority health issues in their current or potential work settings.

PSYD 6221.DE: Health of Sexual Minority Men

This course provides an introduction to the health of sexual minority men, including mental health, alcohol and drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, syndemic production, aging, social discrimination, violence victimization and child sexual abuse as well as optimizing and obtaining culturally competent health care. The backbone of the course allows students to identify a focused, personalized topic relevant to their professional needs. Topics studied can 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.

PSYD 6221.DE1: Rural LGBT Health

This course offers students an intersectional analysis of health care barriers encountered across the lifespan by LGBT individuals living in rural communities. Coursework examines how a rural context can affect human development and understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Students 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 helps guide discussions of public health policies or health care practices that may reinforce barriers to culturally competent rural health care. Conversations focus on approaches for intervention and strategies to create or improve LGBT culturally competent health professionals across the service line in rural communities.

PSYC 6221.DE1: Lesbian Health

This course offers an intersectional analysis of health care barriers encountered across the lifespan by lesbians. Coursework examines how claiming a lesbian identity can affect human development by exploring lesbian themes of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Historically, women’s health issues have been underfunded for research and receive less publication space in professional journals. The difference is even more profound when we consider the health disparities and impact of institutional barriers on lesbian health. While the LGBT community has made great strides in addressing health disparities, one unintended consequence of “LGBT” is that specific issues that impact lesbian health are often ignored or minimized. Due to the current nature of data collection, some of the issues considered in this course will be relevant for bisexual women’s health care. While there is overlap in this course between transgender and lesbian health care, transgender health disparities are discussed in more detail in the concurrently offered transgender course. Discussion topics include specific health risks for lesbians, what factors may help to mitigate those risks, approaches for intervention, strategies to create or improve lesbian health outreach and the impact of social policy differences between U.S. states.

PSYC 6221.DE1: International LGBTI Health Policy

In this course, students examine key elements influencing global health policy related to LGBT populations. Coursework demonstrates the nature of change in health policy priorities and the fundamental influences driving such change, including political commitment, single-country agendas, multi-stakeholder partnerships (global development actors, private sector and civil society) and how the interplay of multiple factors impact the health and well-being of LGBT individuals by country and region.

Approved Elective Courses From Other Departments

Students may opt to take elective courses within their area of study at other GW schools and departments; pre-approved existing courses are listed here. These on-site elective courses may be double-applied as required courses for master’s and doctoral programs. Students may request approval from the program for other GW courses not listed to apply as elective credit.