UCLA Opens Center Focused on LGBTQ Health, Research

(Image: UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health announced Thursday it has begun a new center focused on LGBTQ health and research initiatives.

Partnering with organizations, policymakers and individuals, the UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research and Health, or C-LARAH, “will develop and implement evidence-based strategies that address both the physical and mental health needs of LGBTQ individuals,” said Brad Smith, a senior public relations officer of the Fielding School.

The center plans to award research funding and establish a fellowship program at the university for postdoctoral students in LGBTQ health.

Matthew Mimiaga, the director of the center, said C-LARAH will work collaboratively with partners who serve the LGBTQ community toward “research- informed ways to reach members of this historically marginalized population and serve them holistically.”

Mimiaga has worked previously in research related to LGBTQ populations and HIV, conducting projects that spanned globally.

Among the center’s partnerships are leaders behind the Trevor Project, the nonprofit advocacy group that focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ communities.

Amit Paley, CEO of the Trevor Project, said he was “excited” for the center’s opening and for its help to “shape the policies that directly impact the lives of LGBTQ young people.”

“The Trevor Project recognizes clear need for greater investment in advocacy and research that can better inform public policies that support the needs of LGBTQ youth,” Paley said.

“We look forward to working with the center to educate policymakers, advocate for LGBTQ youth, and provide unique insight into their mental health.”

Training and mentorship for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will also be a feature of the center.

C-LARAH will focus on addressing health disparities between the LGBTQ community and the rest of the population, and plans to offer “much-needed research, training, and policy support that can contribute to reducing or eliminating these disparities,” said Ron Brookmeyer, dean of the Fielding School.

The LARAH in C-LARAH is derived from the Latin hilaris, meaning cheerful.