MPH Student Evaluates Gaps in NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Portfolio for Summer Health Management and Policy Fellowship
Jibri Douglas, MPH ’17 Heads to Bethesda to Interview NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Director
October 25, 2016
Jibri Douglas, MPH Health Management and Policy ’17, spent her summer researching the relationship between the National Institutes of Health and the sexual and gender minority (SGM/LGBT) community. A Health Management and Policy summer fellowship provided the opportunity for Douglas to take on a self-directed project looking at research on sexual and gender minority health. She spent the summer collecting data, conducting a literature review, and interviewing key stakeholders – including the director of the Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH SGMRO).
Each year, the Health Management and Policy department awards one first year MPH student a paid summer fellowship. The highly competitive program pays the selected student to conduct a self-directed project or internship during the summer between first and second years of the MPH.
Jibri’s work builds on research conducted in 2014-2015 by Caroline Volyes, MPH ’15, and Randy Sell, ScD, associate professor in Community Health and Prevention and director of the school’s LGBT Health program. In 2015, Sell and Voyles published a report in the American Journal of Public Health that examined disparities in NIH funding of lesbian, gay and bisexual health research. Throughout her fellowship, Douglas worked with Voyles, now Dornsife’s director of Student Placement and a doctoral student in Community Health and Prevention.
Douglas began her project by collecting data on the FY 2015 NIH research portfolio on the prevalence of gender minority terms. She then conducted a literature review analyzing the evolution of LGBT/SGM language over time -- in peer reviewed research, advocacy organizations and diagnostic manuals such as the DSM – and read through the NIH SGMRO strategic plan for 2016-2020. Interviews with people in the field helped her to collect information on how the current SGM research process is impacting community-based research offices and non-profit organizations. She synthesized her findings in a critical analysis, offering recommendations for the NIH SGMRO.
In August, Douglas traveled to the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. While onsite, Douglas met and interviewed the Director of the Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office, Karen Parker, PhD, MSW, and Sexual and Gender Minority Research Coordinating Committee Member, Dr. Philip Renzullo.
“During my interviews, I learned more intimately the process that a proposal goes through to getting funded and the vision of the SGMRO for increasing and expanding the breadth and depth of SGM research over the next four years,” said Douglas. “I was better able to understand how the SGMRO will carry out its 2016-2020 strategic plan as well as see areas that I could provide some recommendations in my critical analysis of the strategic plan.”
During the second year of her MPH, Douglas plans to analyze the data that was collected during her fellowship to spot trends in the NIH SMMRO research portfolio, comparing it to previous years’ portfolio analysis.
After graduation, Douglas aspires to work in an administrative fellowship within a health system on the east coast. She wants to focus on diversity, respect and inclusion – whether working in organizational development, change management, strategic planning, or human resources departments – all while continuing to expand her diversity and inclusion consulting firm, the TJD Medical Consulting Firm.