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Christopher Chiu is dedicating his graduate career to addressing LGBTQ physical and mental health disparities. Image by: Colleen Locke
January 5, 2018

UMass Boston PhD student to address LGBTQ health as one of 40 new health policy research scholars


  • Boston
5-Year fellowship award funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Christopher Chiu, a student in UMass Boston’s Clinical Psychology PhD Program, is one of 40 scholars nationwide selected for the second cohort of the Health Policy Research Scholars program.

Over the next five years, Chiu and the other scholars in his cohort will collaboratively tackle health challenges by using their own research to create innovative solutions.

Chiu is dedicating his graduate career to addressing LGBTQ physical and mental health disparities. He’ll be engaging in qualitative and quantitative research that will serve as a basis for intervention development, testing, and dissemination. His ultimate goal is to create the evidence base for national policy and practice standards benefiting LGBTQ individuals.

“An increasingly diverse society requires diverse perspectives to give voice to the unique features of all communities. I am passionate about contributing to HPRS’s mission to promote a culture of health by making intimate partner violence a shared concern across all communities,” Chiu said.

The Health Policy Research Scholars program is led by George Washington University with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through the program, Chiu will be developing high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, mentoring, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum. AcademyHealth, the Mayo Clinic, University of California—Los Angeles, and University of Michigan are providing training and coaching.

At UMass Boston, Chiu will be working with Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor of Psychology David Pantalone, whose research expertise is in discrimination and victimization in LGBTQ communities. Chiu says working at the Boston VA on the nationwide implementation of an evidence-based treatment program for intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetuators showed him a need to study IPV experiences in LGBTQ couples to better understand, prevent, and treat the consequences.

“Despite similar prevalence of IPV among same-sex vs. heterosexual couples, no published empirical research has examined IPV intervention programs in this population. I hope to fill this gap,” Chiu said.

Applications for the next cohort open in early 2018.