Symposium Focuses on LGBTQ Researchers and Research Needs

Cortney A. Turner, Assistant Research Scientist and Convener, U-M LGBTQ Faculty Alliance, speaks at the event.

Cortney A. Turner, Assistant Research Scientist and Convener, U-M LGBTQ Faculty Alliance, speaks at the event.

Experts from across the University of Michigan and beyond presented and discussed issues related to LGBTQ+ communities on September 6. The first-ever LGBTQ Inclusion as Researchers & in Research Symposium was attended by faculty, staff, students, and visiting alumni. 

Hosted by the U-M LGBT Faculty Alliance, Spectrum Center, and Rackham Graduate School and sponsored by the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), the day-long event focused on unmet health care needs and better integration of LGBTQ communities at U-M.  

“Gathering together with scholars all working on LGBTQ issues was an exhilarating experience,” said Catherine A. Davy, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UM–Dearborn. “I found it energizing to witness the many excellent scholars and practitioners committed to undertaking this work on behalf of us all.” 

The symposium spanned the sciences, medicine, public health, social sciences, architecture, and the arts. More than 30 panelists and speakers from multiple disciplines, schools, and colleges presented, including representatives from U-M Flint and U-M Dearborn The keynote presenter, Tim Retzloff, PhD, is a professor in the Department of History & Center for Gender in Global Context at Michigan State University. Topics covered during the symposium included Identifying as an LGBTQ Researcher/Scholar, Out in Academia, Intersectionality & Inclusivity, and Evaluating Health Outcomes in LGBTQ Individuals.   

“The LGBTQ Research Symposium was the first of its kind at U-M and engendered a sense of community that was truly amazing and empowering,” said Cortney A. Turner, Assistant Research Scientist and Convener, U-M LGBTQ Faculty Alliance. “I was thrilled that so many LGBTQ faculty were able to share their research and their stories.”  

One of the goals of the event was for attendees to make connections that could influence or enable future research. Several comments from the follow-up survey reflected that this goal was met. Other comments included:  

I will keep the needs and interests of the LGBTQ community in mind in all my work in research. I learned so much. 

I attended as an ally so that I could better understand and learn how to advocate for my LGBTQ colleagues. It was an eye opening experience and really helpful to hear their perspective. 

It was a good first step to build from. I hope that this becomes an annual event with wider participation.  

I thought that the symposium was very successful. It's clear that it meant a lot to many attendees to have representation in the form of this symposium, and it was very useful to all who work in the field.  

MICHR hopes to sponsor future events focused on LGBTQ health, with particular attention to diversity and a broader engagement of learners. If you have suggestions for future events, please contact Cortney Turner.