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Division News

 

Dr. Heino Meyer-Bahlburg receives WPATH "Harry Benjamin" award

 

Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, Dr. rer. nat. received The World Professional Association for Transgender Health's (WPATH) highest honor, the "Harry Benjamin Lifetime Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award." The award was made at the 23rd WPATH Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand in February "in recognition of his seminal work on the developmental psychobiology of gender, leading to better treatment for children with Disorders of Sex Development / intersex conditions and to a better conceptualization and understanding of their psychosexual development."

 

Dr. Meyer-Bahlburg is a clinical psychologist with specialization in clinical and research sexology (development of gender and its variants, and of sexual behavior; psychosexual assessment).He is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry of Columbia University and since 1977 has been a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a member of the HIV Center's leadership since 1987. At NYSPI . Dr. Meyer-Bahlburg is also the Director of the (research and clinical) Program of Developmental Psychoendocrinology which centers on psychosexual differentiation, including transgenderism and intersexuality; a member of the Organizing Committee of the Initiative for LGBT Health; and a long-term member of the Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute’s Institutional Review Board.

 


 

 

Columbia Psychiatry Ranked Highest in Nation for NIH funding


In 2013 Columbia Psychiatry was once again again ranked #1 in the nation in NIH funding, with $69.8 million from combined grants received by our faculty through the Research Foundation of Mental Hygiene and Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. "This clearly reflects our faculty’s extraordinary ability and productivity, and the progress that we continue to make despite a persistently challenging financial environment," noted Department Chair Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. This is the seventh year in a row that Columbia Psychiatry (home of the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health) has ranked first, an achievement made even more notable by the $12.6 million gap between first and second rank. In second place is Yale University with $57.2 million, third place is the University of Pittsburgh with $51.6 million, and UC San Diego remains in fourth place with $44.3 million.

 


 

HIV Center to Co-Sponsor "Building the Fourth Wave of HIV/AIDS Activism: An Activist-Scholar Panel"

 

HIV/AIDS activism has been back in the news, and activists have been back in the streets. After three great waves of HIV/AIDS activism, this may be the start of a fourth wave. What can be done to build a fourth wave? What might the experience of the first three waves suggest about its direction and impact?


This event is co-sponsored by the HIV Center and the Baruch College Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management. It is being held in association with media sponsor The Stanford Social Innovation Review and coincides with the launch of the new three-volume bookset Global HIV/AIDS Politics, Policy, and Activism: Persistent Challenges and Emerging Issues (Raymond A. Smith, Editor; Praeger, 2013).


 

Monday, February 3, 2014, 4-6pm
Baruch College, 135 East 22nd Street, Room 301, New York, NY

 

Moderator:
Michael Seltzer, Baruch College, CUNY

Panelists:
Amanda Lugg, African Services Committee
Jeff Maskovsky, Graduate Center, CUNY
Mathew Rodriguez, TheBody.com & ACT UP/NY
Eric Sawyer, UNAIDS
Raymond Smith, Columbia University

 

Admission is free. Space is limited – RSVP Required
RSVP: nonprofit.workshops@baruch.cuny.edu or 646-660-6806

 

To access the flyer for this event, click here.

 

 


 

HIV Center mourns the passing -- and celebrates the life -- of Nelson Mandela

 

 HIV Center Director Dr. Robert H. Remien and Co-Directors Drs. Claude Ann Mellins and Alex Carballo-Dguez issued a statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela:

 

"The HIV Center mourns the passing – and celebrates the life and accomplishments – of the great South African and world leader Nelson Mandela. We greatly admire his tenacity and dedication to justice and human rights, his courage, patience and resilience in the face of adversity, hostility and aggression, his demonstration of forgiveness, redemption and humility, and his pursuit of peace and unity. His whole life was a lesson and remains an inspiration to us all.

 

"Among several causes in his fight for human rights and justice, Nelson Mandela demonstrated a strong commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa and around the world. For over 25 years, it has been the great privilege of the HIV Center to work in South Africa and collaborate with colleagues there in pursuit of our shared goals of HIV prevention, treatment access, stigma reduction, and the promotion of the health and human rights of all. Since our first HIV research program in South Africa began in 1992, we have watched with admiration as South Africa reinvented itself under President Mandela."

 

To read the full statement, please click here.

 


 

 

Screening and panel discussion of How to Survive a Plague documentary

 

 

To mark World AIDS Day 2013, the HIV Center hosted a screening of the highly acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague. The film highlights the critical role of ACT UP, TAG, and other AIDS activists in the search for treatments for HIV in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

The screening was followed by a panel discussion moderated by HIV Center Director Dr. Robert Remien (at right in photo) and including the film’s director and producer David France (holding microphone). The panel also included three key activists featured in the film (from left to right): Jim Eigo, Peter Staley, and Ann Northrop. The event was co-sponsored by the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU.

 

 

 


 

Dr. Alex Carballo-Diéguez is cited in New York Times article on HIV and gay men

 

 The article, "Rise in Unprotected Sex by Gay Men Spurs H.I.V. Fears" states in part:

 

"Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic...

 

Two leading independent AIDS researchers agreed only partly with those explanations. “Young guys are less worried,” said Alex Carballo-Diéguez, a researcher at the H.I.V. Center of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University who has studied gay men’s behavior since the 1980s. “H.I.V. has become a chronic disease, and everyone knows some behaviors are bad for you, like smoking and trans fats. But in the moment of excitement, they’re going to do what they enjoy.”

 

To read the full article, click here.

 

 


 

Dr. Robert Klitzman writes about the the promise and peril of genetic testing

 

 

In an article for Bloomberg News, Dr. Klitzman wrote in part: "Over the past decade, we have heard about the 'fat gene,' the 'diabetes gene,' the 'alcoholism gene,' the 'intelligence gene,' even the 'God gene.' In the end, none of these so-called discoveries proved correct. Genetics is more complex than scientists imagined. We have discovered highly predictive genes for about 2,000 rare ailments, such as Huntington’s disease, but not for most common diseases such as cancer and diabetes. This hasn’t prevented companies such as 23andMe Inc. from selling direct-to-consumer genetic testing, with claims that it offers beneficial health information." To read the full article,"The Failed Promise of 23andMe," click here.

 

Dr. Klitzman was also interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the topic of "What to Consider Before Undergoing a DNA Test." To view the interview, click here.

 

 

 


Dr. Walter Bockting delivers plenary address at LGBTQ Health and Wellness conference

 

The second annual Chicago LGBTQ Health and Wellness conference convened on November 20, 2013. Co-organized by the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Institute of Center on Halsted, the event took place at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, drawing approximately 180 conference participants from across the US and abroad.

 

In his plenary address, Dr. Walter Bockting, Co-Director of the LGBT Health Initiative presented his work on transgender identity, sexuality, and health. He underscored that gender is not binary and stated that data suggest that one of every 200 people is transgender. Dr. Bockting emphasized several key points: “Transgender is an identity, not a disorder,” there is no one “way” to be transgender, and “transition is first and foremost a psychosocial process.” His work reminded the audience of the importance of Transgender Day of Remembrance that coincided with the conference. 

 

To read more about the conference, click here.

 


 

 

HIV Center to co-sponsor screening and panel discussion of "How to Survive a Plague"

 

 

The HIV Center will host a screening of the highly acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated Featured Documentary:How to Survive a Plague. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the film’s director and producer David France
and some of the key community leaders featured in the film, including Jim Eigo, Mark Harrington, Ann Northrop, and Peter Staley.

 

Thursday, December 5, 2013
4:00 - 7:00 PM

NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, NY, NY, 1st Floor Auditorium

 

The event is being held to mark World AIDS Day 2013, and is co-sponsored by the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU.

 

For more information and to RSVP:
http://gendersexualityhealth.org/documents/HowtoSurviveaPlagueFF.pdf

 

 

 

 

 


 

Dr. Joanne Mantell discusses her work on medical male circumcision

 

 

Dr. Mantell and colleagues recently published a paper titled: "Medical male circumcision and HIV risk: perceptions of women in a higher learning institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa" in the journal Sexual Health. The study was conducted in partnership with MATCH Research (Maternal, Adolescent, and Child Health) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

 

With support from NIMH and from amFAR, Dr. Mantel is the Principal Investigator of studies on the integration of sexual and reproductive health and HIV care and medical male circumcision in South Africa, and a co-investigator on studies of women in antenatal clinics and men in Lesotho and men who have sex with men in South Africa.

 

To read more about the study and its findings on the science website Dugdug.com, click here.

 

 


 

 

 

Bookset published on Global HIV/AIDS Politics, Policy, and Activism

 

           


The new three-volume bookset Global HIV/AIDS Politics, Policy, and Activism: Persistent Challenges and Emerging Issues was published on October 31. The bookset includes 45 chapters by over 80 contributing authors from 16 countries, including GSH Division-affiliated investigators Drs. Robert Remien, Richard Parker, Zena Stein, Joanne Mantell, and Raymond Smith, who is also editor of the bookset. The idea originated with an HIV Center-sponsored conference in 2009. For more information on the bookset, click here.


 

Symposium honors HIV Center Investigator Dr. Ronald Bayer's 25 Years at Columbia

 

Dr. Ronald Bayer's 25 years at Columbia were honored at a symposium on October 25 entitled “Risky Business: Confronting the Moral and Political Foundations of Public Health.” Dr. Bayer has been affiliated with the HIV Center since 1988 and is currently Co-Director of the Public Health Policy and Practice Core. The event brought together health scholars and leaders who have been centrally engaged in the issues that have defined Dr. Bayer's career and will continue to be focal points of controversy and conflict. Thematically, the conference was be organized around three topics: AIDS, which was responsible for bringing Dr. Bayer to Columbia; tobacco control, and the challenge of confronting mass behavior and corporate practice; and the politics of decision making, with a focus on the role of evidence in public policy. It was sponsored by the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health; the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School; and the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan.

 

 

 


 

Dr. Stewart Adelson presents LGBT Health Webinar with Fenway Institute

 

LGBT Health Initiative investigator Dr. Stewart Adelson recently presented a webinar at the Fenway Institute on "Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents." The webinar can be accessed via the link below (registration required):

http://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/training/online-courses/continuing-education/?y=42

 

 

 


 

LGBT Health Initiative Co-Director Dr. Walter Bockting on "LGBT-IQ"

At an event co-sponsored by the Columbia School of Nursing's Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs and the CUMC Office of Student Wellness, LGBT Health Initiative Co-Director Dr. Walter Bockting offered a presentation entitled "LGBT-IQ: Getting Smart about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer Identities and Health." The audience at the October 16, 2013 event included over 50 students, faculty, and staff from CUMC and from the Columbia-Morningside campus, many of whom also joined a reception in Bard Hall afterwards.

 

Dr. Bockting's wide-ranging talk covered the evolution of such terms as "queer," "gay," and "transgender" and their meaning today. He also presented a series of case studies on the often complex intersections among natal sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and also provided guidance about how health care providers can exercise cultural competence in interacting with LGBTQI clients and patients. To learn more about the LGBT Health Initiative, click here(Photo by Rachel Zuckerman)


 

HIV Center Director Dr. Robert Remien Speaks at
ICAP Forum on New Opportunities and Challenges in HIV Prevention

ICAP at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health convened a group of leading HIV researchers for a special symposium on October 10, 2013 to discuss opportunities and challenges in HIV prevention. The event also launched a supplement of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), on state-of- the-art HIV prevention. The symposium featured contributing authors including Drs. Wafaa El-Sadr, Myron Cohen, Andrea Howard, and Robert Remien, who all participated in a panel discussion joined by Dr. Elaine Abrams.


Robert Remien, Ph.D. (at center above) presented on the global HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM), the multifactoral nature of MSM HIV vulnerabilities, the diversity of MSM and the role that plays in designing and targeting interventions, and recent findings and new directions for combating the epidemic among the MSM population.
To read more about the symposium, please click here. (Photo courtesy of ICAP)



 

Opening of VSA Arts Show at NYSPI on October 8

Division Investigator Dr. Robert Klitzman was instrumental in organizing a show of student art at NYSPI sponsored by VSA. This organization on arts and disability was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all.

 

Dr. Klitzman is pictured above (at right) with Columbia Psychiatry Chair and NYSPI Director Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman and Ambassador Kennedy Smith. All three spoke at an opening of the art show on October 8, with the ambassador presenting certificates to the student artists. The student art will continue to be on display in the atrium of the Kolb Annex until October 31. (Photo by Eve Vagg)


Development Core sponsors poster session held on September 12, 2013

Investigators Drs. Mary McKay (left) and Claude Ann Mellins (right) were among the Division/HIV Center researchers who presented their work, in this case"The VUKA Family Project: A family-based mental health and HIV prevention program for perinatally HIV-infected youth." As with several of the posters, this one was originally presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. during July 2012. In total, 27 posters co-authored by Division/HIV Center investigators were on display. The event was sponsored by the HIV Center’s Development Core. For more on the poster session, click here. (Photo by Eve Vagg)


Division publishes LGBT guide to Columbia University

 

The Division and the LGBT Health Initiative have published a guide to Resources and Programs at Columbia University related to LGBTQ Issues, including:academic centers and resources, student services, selected courses, clubs and organizations, and University non-discrimination policies. For more information, please visit:

http://gendersexualityhealth.org/LGBT/ColumbiaLGBTGuide.html



 

 


 

The preview issue of the new journal LGBT Health has been published

LGBT Health is new quarterly peer-reviewed journal dedicated to promoting optimal healthcare for millions of sexual and gender minority persons worldwide by focusing specifically on health while maintaining sufficient breadth to encompass the full range of relevant biopsychosocial and health policy issues.

The editorial board includes Division Columbia investigators Theo Sandfort, Walter Bockting, and Milton Wainberg. For more information, please visit:
http://www.liebertpub.com/overview/lgbt-health/618/

 

 


Dr. Anke A. Ehrhardt chairs panel on "The Neuroscience of Gender"

 

Division Director Dr. Anke A. Ehrhardt chaired a panel discussion on “The Neuroscience of Gender” focused on the question of how sex hormones influence male and female behavior. The event was sponsored by the German Center for Research and Innovation with RWTH Aachen University.The German Center provides a platform for German science, research, innovation and research-based companies (www.germaninnovation.org).

 

The panelists included leading neuroscience esteemed experts from Germany and the United States discussing the neural and hormonal basis of gender differences in behavior. Pictured above at left is Dr. Ehrhardt and at right is German Center Director Dr. Joann Halpern. The two panelists are at center: Dr. Bruce S. McEwen, who is Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and Head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University in New York and Dr. Ute Habel, who is Professor of Neuropsychological Gender Research with the University Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics at RWTH Aachen University.

 

For further information, please visit: http://gendersexualityhealth.org/research/development/TheNeuroscienceofGender.html

 

 


The LGBT Health Initiative is profiled in the Columbia media

 

The launch of the Division's LGBT Health Initiative has been profiled in a variety of Columbia University media outlets, including:

► The summer 2013 issue of The Columbia Record;

► The Columbia University student radio station WQXR;

► The Columbia Psychiatry newsletter InPsych

►The Columbia Spectator student newspaper Op-Ed and News sections.

For further information about the LGBT Health Initiative, please visit:

http://gendersexualityhealth.org/LGBT/LGBTHealthOverview.html


 

The HIV Center Receives NIMH Renewal Under New Leadership

In February 2013, the HIV Center was renewed by NIMH with Dr. Robert H. Remien (left) as Director. Dr. Claude Ann Mellins and Dr. Alex Carballo Diéguez (at right) are the new Co-Directors. Dr. Anke A. Ehrhardt (second from left), who founded the HIV Center in 1987, continues on as Director and Research Chief of the Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health.

The HIV Center has been renewed by National Institute of Mental Health for the five year period of 2013 to 2018, and will highlight new leadership, new research Cores, and expanded collaboration with other academic institutions such as the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and New York University, and with health departments in New York State and New York City. A major focus will be on developing new approaches to HIV prevention, treatment, and care through the combination of behavioral and biomedical interventions. The HIV Center also aims to apply the principles of implementation science to maximize public health impact.

 

Based within the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health, the HIV Center brings together nearly 100 investigators who are at the forefront of HIV biobehavioral science. Through the NIMH AIDS Research Center (ARC) mechanism, the HIV Center provides the value-added infrastructure to ensure methodological and theoretical rigor, identify and respond to new trends in the epidemic, support critical partnerships across research and practice sectors, and train new behavioral scientists. The Center is unique among the NIMH ARCs in being based in New York City – home to over one-third of people living with HIV/AIDS in the US, the highest number of new infections of any US city, and large ethnic/racial minority populations coping with extreme economic and health disparities.

 

For more on the HIV Center, please visit: http://gendersexualityhealth.org/hivcenter/hivcenteroverview.html

 


Benefit of Broadway musical "Kinky Boots" held for LGBT Health Initiative

Attendees at the "Kinky Boots" event included (from left to right) Hal Luftig, Stewart Adelson, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Anke A. Ehrhardt, Bobbie Berkowitz, Jerry Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Walter O. Bockting

 

In celebration of the LGBT Health Initiative, the Broadway musical "Kinky Boots" hosted a special one-night-only event at the show on March 20th. The event featured a pre-show cocktail reception with composer/lyricist Cyndi Lauper, director Jerry Mitchell, and producers Hal Luftig and Daryl Roth, and a post-show talkback with book writer and gay rights icon Harvey Fierstein. The evening was co-sponsored by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (executive director: Tom Viola), with all proceeds directly benefitting the LGBT Health Initiative.


In a joint statement, Fierstein and Lauper stated, “We have both been deeply involved in advancing equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community for decades, so we know good people when we see them. We’re honored to be joining the renowned researchers and clinicians of Columbia University Medical Center to raise awareness for their groundbreaking Initiative. Kinky Boots is very much about the power of self-acceptance and emotional health. We believe that this new program can strengthen not only the LGBT community, but all of New York.” Moving forward, the LGBT Health Initiative will be collaborating with Ms. Lauper’s True Colors

 

To view more photo from the event, visit: http://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/sites/pi/files/KinkyBootsforWeb.pdf


 

2012

 

Launch of the "Initiative for LGBT Health" and appointment of
Dr. Walter Bockting

The Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health has launched its first major new program -- the Initiative for LGBT Health, that will comprise research, clinical care, education, and policy as related to the physical and mental health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population. To read more about the Initiative, please click here.

 

In conjunction with the launch, the Division also announced the appointment of Dr. Walter Bockting, one of the world’s leading experts on gender identity development and transgender health. He has been nominated professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Physicians and Surgeons and at Columbia University School of Nursing. Dr,.Bockting will also serve as Co-director of the newly launched Initiative for LGBT Health, based in the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health in the Department of Psychiatry, in close collaboration with the Columbia University School of Nursing. To read more about the appointment, please click here.

 


 

Expansion to become the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health

 

The Division of HIV (home of the HIV Center) was expanded in the summer of 2012 to become the Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health to reflect the full scope of our research studies, educational initiatives, and expertise of our investigators. The reframed Division continues to include the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, the New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Center (NY/NJ AETC), a postdoctoral program in human sexuality and HIV behavioral research, approximately 40 individual studies, and over 100 affiliated faculty. The Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health also serves as a coordinating mechanism for all Columbia Psychiatry faculty engaged with the study of gender and sexuality, while providing critically needed training support to residents, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, professional staff, and community members. In summer 2012, the Division launched its first major new project, the Initiative for LGBT Health, comprising components in research, clinical care, education, and public policy. The Division continues to be led by Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D., who co-founded the HIV Center in 1987 and has been its Director since that time.  To read more about the Division, click here.

 


Home-based Rapid HIV Testing Study led by Dr. Alex Carballo-Diéguez

Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.D., is currently leading a study at the HIV Center on "Rapid HIV Home Test and Decision-Making among HIV-Negative Men." This important prevention issue has become even more topical with the recent approval from the FDA for over-the-counter distribution.

To access our Home-based Rapid HIV Testing information and resource page, click here. This page includes two video Q&A segments with Dr. Carballo-Diéguez, links to media coverage of the study (including an article in the New York Times), and information about the study and about the issue of home-based rapid HIV testing.

 


Prior to 2012, the HIV Center published an e-newsletter; click below to access archives:

Summer 2011   Winter 2011       Fall 2010      Winter 2010      Spring 2009    
Fall 2008          Spring 2008       Fall 2007      Summer 2007    Winter 2007

 

 

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