Student Success Stories

This page highlights the progress of our students and alumni. It is a space for them to share, in their own words, how the LGBT Health Policy & Practice Program has helped in their educational and professional goals, and how they have gone on to fulfill the mission of the program by making health care more accessible and culturally competent for LGBT people.

Shelley Marfori

"I am dually enrolled in the GWU Professional Psychology Program as a doctoral student while simultaneously working towards a graduate certificate in LGBT Health Policy. I could not be happier with my decision to enroll in the LGBT Health Policy & Practice graduate program. For me, the benefits have far outweighed the financial and academic challenges that I originally feared. Having this unique opportunity has not only provided me with a network of friends and colleagues around the country with whom I often collaborate and seek out professional advice for clinical issues, I have had the opportunity to develop mature and specialized skills in working with LGBT clients that have set me apart from my colleagues and provided me with opportunities that have advanced my career beyond what would be expected at my typical level of training. Further, while on internship, the expertise I gained through the LGBT certificate program has served me well and I am currently seeking postdoctoral training at top sites to work with the LGBT community, many of which I would not be eligible for without the LGBT certificate. The experience I have gained from the LGBT Health Policy graduate certificate program has proved invaluable to me as a growing clinician."

Shelley Marfori, Class of 2019

Current Student


Ntlotleng Mabena

Ntlotleng Mabena, M.D. is a women’s health and rights activist and medical doctor from South Africa. She is a visionary, and has worked with various local NGOs in the field of HIV, SRH and LGBT advocacy. Her passion lies in working with marginalized women, and making sure that all women, especially the most vulnerable, have access to quality primary health care services. She also holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree, with which she unearthed the most neglected health needs of lesbian women living in low socio-economic settings in Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa. Her advocacy issues include rape care, abortion care, substance abuse and mental health, amongst others. She is the Executive Director of Open House, an organisation that is passionate about the health needs of vulnerable people (primarily women) and offers services in the form of consulting, service provision and research and innovation.


Ntlotleng Mabena, Class of 2018

Executive Director, Open House

Sarah L. Westendorff

"Since completing my certificate, I've been invited to guest lecture at Salisbury University's school of social work on sexuality and gender. I also provided a training to Healthy Families, a home visiting program in Washington County Maryland that supports new families. We discussed how to support LGBTQ families in our community. I have also formatted my capstone product, a brochure to support LGBTQ tobacco cessation, for use at West Virginia University's LGBTQ Center. Chiefly, this certificate has given me credibility with the parents of the queer youth that I am working with. They see the certificate on the wall which legitimizes both the LGBTQ community and the work that I do. I'm grateful to the donors who were able to support my participation in the program."


Sarah L. Westendorff, Class of 2018


Adrian Shanker

"As a non-profit leader working in LGBT health promotion, I enrolled in GWU's LGBT Health Policy & Practice graduate certificate program because I wanted to better understand how to put theory into practice when it comes to LGBT health. Though this program, I developed unique expertise that I utilize regularly in my work, build relationships with colleagues engaged in different but symbiotic aspects of LGBT health, and found opportunities to test new projects in this graduate program before implementing them in my organization. All in, this program was immensely helpful for my professional career and for the growth of my organization."

LGBTHPP Alum Adrian Shanker was appointed this year by Pennsylvania Governor Wolf to serve on both the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. For the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Shanker was confirmed unanimously by the Pennsylvania State Senate. He also had a chapter published in the Rutledge Handbook of LGBTQA Administration and Policy this past fall.


Adrian Shanker, Class of 2017

Founder & Executive Director, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Kelli Agrawal

“GWU's LGBT Health Policy & Practice Program not only provided me with an exciting, hands-on learning experience, I'm proud to say my capstone has made an impact. The "L.I.O.N.S.: LGBT-inclusive Obstetrics and Nursing Support" project is a … CE/CME approved webinar and an accessible way for clinicians to increase knowledge and skills around LGBTQ+ issues related to conception, obstetrics, and nursing. Contributing to the health and well-being of my community in such a tangible and impactful way was the highlight of my educational career and won me 5 awards, including the APHA's Early Career Professional Award. I am now working on 2 separate LGBTQ+ health studies in my role as research administrator for the University of Florida's Student Health Care Center. Without the support of the LGBT Health Policy & Practice Legacy Award I would not be continuing to improve the care provided to LGBTQ+ community members through health services research and advocacy."


Kelli Selwyn, Class of 2017

Research Administrator, University of Florida

Tim DeVite

During his time in the program, Tim was presented Directors Award for Most Influential Capstone Project in Class of 2015-16 for work creating and advocating for LGBT health competency in the Georgetown University School of Medicine curriculum. In 2016, he moved to the Holdsworth House Medical Practice in Sydney, Australia, and became the lead study coordinator for Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Atrial Fibrillation Clinical Trials. He is currently enrolled in the Georgetown School of Medicine and working towards his M.D.


Tim DeVita, Class of 2016

M.D. student, Georgetown School of Medicine


Chris Obermeyer

"My capstone work on changing health education standards resulted in new health education standards in DC to meet the needs of LGBTQ students as evidenced from the YRBS data. It also resulted in the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Act of 2016. From 2016-2017 I lived in Odesa, Ukraine where I used what I learned in the program to work with organizations in Ukraine to increase service provision to children and families affected by HIV and men who have sex with men. My work with an LGBT NGO resulted in thousands being connected with safer sex information through an online health promotion campaign, training of community outreach workers, and development and implementation of a training for healthcare providers on how to work with key populations at increased risk for HIV infection. From 2017-2018 I lived in Kyiv, Ukraine where I was a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow at the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. There I led the Ministry's work to develop a biobehavioral study of transgender people in Ukraine. It will be one of the largest biobehavioral studies in the world of transgender people and will estimate the population of transgender women in three different regions of Ukraine. Over the summer I worked with PrEPster, a UK-based organization to develop PrEP information materials with organizations in Ukraine and worked with generic PrEP distributors to make PrEP available in Ukraine through online purchases. Currently, I'm developing a research program to study the impact of stigma and discrimination on use and access of HIV services by MSM in Ukraine in collaboration with researchers from Yale University. Additionally, I'm working with a Ukrainian NGO to expand some of their work from the Elton John Foundation to develop and explore the impact of stigma and discrimination interventions implemented in recertification processes for Ukrainian healthcare providers. I'm also earning my doctor of public health degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which will take me back to Ukraine to conduct my research. All of this started with the program at GW."


Chris Obermeyer, Class of 2015

HIV Technical Advisor and Program Consultant, Alliance for Public Health


Carl Streed

Carl earned his Master of Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2018. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine. He is also working  as both a Clinician Investigator and the Research Lead at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Boston Medical Center, which is a national leader in the delivery of transgender medical and surgical care. Their research emphasis is on improving the current medical knowledge on health topics that specifically impact the transgender community, with the goal of continually improving the health and outcomes of transgender individuals who receive medical care.


Carl G. Streed, Class of 2015

Clinician-Investigator at Boston Medical Center (BMC) Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery

Adam R. Ward

Adam Ward is currently a PhD candidate in Epidemiology in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and a researcher in the laboratory of R. Brad Jones at George Washington University and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Adam's research broadly focuses on HIV cure and eradication strategies. His current research includes: observational studies on clinical, demographic, and behavioral factors associated with HIV reservoir size; observational studies and biostatistical modeling of factors predictive of time to viral rebound post-ATI; developing a novel humanized mouse model to study latency reversal from natural patient-derived HIV reservoirs; study of the central nervous system HIV reservoir and implications for cure strategies; investigating immunotherapeutics in animal and cell culture models; and molecular epidemiology studies. Adam also continues to conduct LGBTQ health-related research, including: studies on provider attitudes towards LGBTQ patients, and measurement issues including evaluation of validity, reliability, and factor analysis of existing instruments and development of new instruments, among other work. Adam's long term interests are in HIV prevention and cure science, and combating LGBTQ health disparities. 

Adam obtained a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences (2011) and an M.Sc. in Comparative Biomedical Sciences (2015) from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, and is a graduate of George Washington University's Graduate Certificate program in LGBT Health Policy & Practice (2015).
Adam R. Ward, Class of 2015
PhD Candidate, Epidemiology, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

Nick Grant

"Participating in the LGBT Health Policy & Practice program helped me to further develop my skills as a researcher, advocate and clinician. Being concurrently enrolled in this unique program while completing my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and working with the Center for LGBT Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR), I was able to advance my graduate training and career in the field of psychology. Since the onset of the program I have been working as a member of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APAGS-CSOGD), which has included being selected to participate on the American Psychological Association (APA) LGBT International Oversight Group, and, most recently, organizing and co-chairing a symposium for the upcoming APA Convention with leading LGBT focused psychologists entitled “Intersections and Future Directions of LGBT Research. I also recently accepted the LGBT Mental Health position for the 2015-16 academic year at the VA San Diego Healthcare System/University of California, San Diego Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Residency Program. I am proud to say that the education and experiences I gained through participating in the certificate program have helped me to achieve these accomplishments."

Nicholas Grant, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, licensed in Washington, D.C., with a clinical background in health psychology/behavioral medicine, and a research background in sexual and gender minority health. Nick was a member of the inaugural cohort of the LGBTHO&P Program and then completed the his Ph.D. at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University, where he worked as a research assistant with the Center for LGBT Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR). Upon completing both programs he went on to complete postdoctoral studies in the Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Residency at the VA San Diego Healthcare System/University of California, San Diego Program with a specific focus in LGBTQ veteran mental health. Nick was then selected to serve as an American Psychological Association William A. Bailey Health and Behavior Fellow, a specialty designation APA awarded to him based on his extensive background in LGBTQ psychology, research and community involvement. He served in the Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) where he worked on the Senator’s Military/Veterans, Healthcare and LGBTQ legislative portfolios. In 2018 Nick was selected for a Presidential Citation as a Citizen Psychologist by the American Psychological Association and for the Distinguished Alumni Award from Palo Alto University for his extensive efforts and work in the community and field of LGBTQ psychology. He currently serves as a consultant on multiple research and clinical projects related to LGBTQ health and speaks on these topics at both national and international conferences. 


Nicholas Grant, Class of 2014

VP for External Affairs, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
Public Policy Committee Co-chair & Newsletter Editor, The Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APA Division 44)
Health Equity Ambassador, APA Health Disparities Initiative 

Gregory Haskin

Published his capstone project along with colleague Adrienne Hancock, titled "Speech-Language Pathologists' Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Populations" in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2015. Their research focused on cultural competence, general knowledge, and attitudes of speech-language pathologists working with the LGBTQ community, especially transgender populations. Greg was accepted into the Drexel University College of Medicine for the fall of 2017


Gregory Haskin, Class of 2014

B.A. Psychology, George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, 2013


John Cullen

“Kudos to [the director] and the program – I really feel that it was the catalyst and springboard for my career development and people taking me seriously in my work!”

Successfully lobbied to add transition coverage to his university health plan : "As a result of my Capstone project, students at the University of Rochester will be offered gender transition-related coverage beginning the 2014-2015 academic year, and beginning January 1st, 2015, the university will add transgender health care benefits for employees and their families enrolled in university health care plans. The University of Rochester will be the 27th college or university in the USA to offer transition-related medical expenses under employee health insurance and the 52nd university to adopt the progressive healthcare policy for students. In February 2014, I was named Coordinator of Outreach at the University of Rochester Susan B. Anthony Center, the mission of which is to translate research into practice and policy to promote social justice and equality for all. Since then I have worked with multiple organizations, both on campus and in the Rochester community, to help address many of the social injustice issues and health care disparities that are faced by the LGBT community. I co-presented a workshop on ‘What the Numbers Say’ and discussed LGBT sexual assault on college campuses, launched a Tran* student website for the University of Rochester, and developed an LGBT patient website for Strong Memorial Hospital."

Recently accepted a new position as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Rochester’s Clinical Translational Science Institute, one of 60 institutions nationwide with funding from the NIH to lead the emerging field of clinical and translational research:


Dr. John Cullen, Class of 2014

Associate Director, Susan B. Anthony Center, University of Rochester Medical Center


Pearl Outland

"The rich experiences I gained from the LGBTHPP Program, through both my capstone project and collaborating in the community, helped me achieve a very important goal, to gain admission to my choice of doctoral programs. I have since begun pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Social and Health Psychology at the Colorado State University, a Tier 1 institution. I feel very fortunate to say that I was one of only two incoming students accepted this year, and that I am fully funded. The interdisciplinary nature of the LGBTHPP Program, drawing on both the Psychology and Public Health departments, is what made me a truly competitive applicant. I look forward to honing the passions and skills I first developed during the LGBTHPP Program as I advance through the academy."

Is currently studying in the Colorado State University Ph.D. Program in Applied Social and Health Psychology and is a data scientist at Gogo Business Aviation.


Pearl L. Outland, Class of 2014

PhD student, Colorado State University, 2019

Cramer McCullen

"Participating in the LGBT Health Policy & Practice Program while concurrently pursuing my Medical Doctorate, allowed me to not only substantiate my previous interest and involvement in LGBT healthcare, but also allowed me to connect with like-minded peers and to develop a network of resources and resource holders which ultimately led to the publication of an innovative systematic review of the literature addressing the LGBT smoking cessation while highlighting the future goals and direction for providers of LGBT healthcare. It is my hope that such research will serve as a platform for future initiatives by community organizations and governmental agencies in addressing LGBT health needs, and will serve to underscore my commitment to LGBT health as my career in medicine advances."

Published his Capstone Project in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine and is currently working as a Resident Physician at Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System.


Cramer McCullen, Class of 2014

Resident Physician, Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System