University of Maryland Prevention Research Center

Population of Focus: LGBTQ+ communities

Topic Areas: LGBTQ+ mental health, health care, and related topics, such as HIV infection, substance use, and healthy relationship dynamics

Introduction, Mission, and Vision

The UMD-PRC website banner highlights an educational focus on LGBTQ awareness.

The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC) is one of 26 Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the 2019–2024 funding cycle. Each PRC is funded to establish and maintain their center and to conduct a core research project. PRCs may receive supplemental funding to conduct additional research projects and activities.

UMD-PRC is committed to providing research, service, and training focused on mental health issues among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities. Its mission is to eliminate health disparities and related social injustices experienced by LGBTQ+ people. UMD-PRC seeks to address these issues by developing and sharing education and practice tools, guidance, and programs that improve access to high-quality mental health and health care for LGBTQ+ communities.

UMD-PRC is a central resource for education, expertise, and materials on LGBTQ+ mental health care that can be used by members of LGBTQ+ communities, allies, clinicians, policy makers, and investigators. It works with LGBTQ+ partner organizations to promote evidence-based training and has developed educational tools to help facilitate affirmative mental health supports for LGBTQ+ people.

Core Research

Each PRC uses a community-engaged approach to conducts one primary applied public health prevention research project called a core research project. Project activities include design, development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination. PRCs use at least 50% of their CDC funding to conduct the project in partnership with communities.

Sexual and Gender Diversity Learning Community (SGDLC) Project

PRC Kickoff Meeting Poster 640x480 - M Pease

University of Maryland Prevention Research Center Staff.

UMD-PRC’s core research project for the 2019–2024 funding cycle is focused on increasing effective mental health care for every LGBTQ+ community member. It is supported, advised, and led by a diverse community advisory board of LGBTQ+ community members, therapists, researchers, policy experts, and scientists.

The SGDLC project uses assessment tools to determine if local mental health organizations and therapists have the educational skill set to address the needs of LGBTQ+ people. The results will be used to guide further development and implementation of training programs.

The project also provides educational training on current best practices for LGBTQ+ clients that includes self-assessments, workshops, clinical consultations, and technical assistance. Partcipants can provide feedback and suggestions on how to addresss any challenges they have experienced while applying the training to actual practice.

Both the assessments and the training program are virtual, which allows them to be used anywhere. They focus on organizational issues, such as the LGBTQ+ sensitivity of health care forms, staff- and client-related policies, the clinical environment, and therapist sensitivity and ability to apply training.

Additional Research

PRCs may receive supplemental funding to work on additional research projects each funding cycle. These Special Interest Projects (SIPs) focus on a variety of health topics or gaps in scientific evidence. PRCs can also conduct additional research as part of SIP Thematic Research Networks, which are groups of PRCs working together on related health topics.

PRC Vaccine Confidence Network (PRC VCN)

In April 2021, CDC funded all 26 PRCs to form the PRC VCN in support of the agency’s Vaccinate with Confidence strategy for COVID-19. As part of this network, UMD-PRC is working to promote vaccine confidence and uptake and reduce disparities in several rural Maryland communities by partnering with CenterLink, a national organization that supports LGBTQ+ communities. The goal is to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 in the United States.

UMD-PRC’s strategy includes developing and distributing culturally sensitive messages and organizational resources and building relationships with state and local health departments.

Contact Information
UMD Logo

Location: College Park, Maryland

Principal Investigator: Bradley Boekeloo, PhD

Deputy Director: Evelyn King-Marshall, PhD


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