The First Year in Review

July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

In May 2014, Dean Jeffrey Flier established the LGBT program as part of the efforts to support diversity inclusion across the HMS community. A Faculty Council subcommittee, led by Dean Maureen Connelly, laid the foundation for this work. Dean Joan Reede and Assistant Dean Ellen McCarthy formed the LGBT Advisory Committee comprised of staff, faculty, trainee and student representatives and chaired by Dr. Mark Schuster and Robert Coughlin.

The LGBT Office was created within the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (DICP) and Jessica Halem was hired as part-time Program Manager to lead the efforts. Jessica came to HMS with an extensive background in LGBT health and community organizing, having worked as Executive Director of the Lesbian Community Cancer Project in Chicago from 2001-2006 and served on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA).

Visibility, community-building, career development, cultural competency, and faculty research are all programming priorities of the LGBT Office. This year, we led with:

  • Kick-Off Reception was attended by over 100 staff, faculty, and students in September 2014

  • Lunch and Learn on Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health with faculty members Sabra Katz-Wise, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital and Chana Sacks, MD, Chief Resident, Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Meeting with AAMC and 10 New England medical schools to discuss the Guidelines to Improve Health Care for People Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with Differences of Sex Development, including chapters and leadership from, Jennifer Potter, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

The LGBT Office supports HMS-affiliated hospitals as they create an environment for LGBT faculty and students to thrive professionally and personally. This year we worked together on:

  • LGBTQ health clinical elective for fourth year medical students led by Boston Children’s Hospital and partnering with Fenway Health (to be launched soon)

  • Welcome back event for LGBT intern applicants at Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Medicine

  • LGBT employee resource groups at HMS-affiliated hospitals joining together for social events

  • Jessica Halem met with faculty and administrators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mount Auburn Hospital to discuss programs and policies. Look for more from these initiatives in 2015-2016.

LGBT advisory committee members went back to their home institutions and departments to work in different areas such as:

  • Rainbow Consortium for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Boston Children’s Hospital organized by Robert Kitts, MD, bringing together faculty and researchers

  • Human Resources Task Force for the Harvard Longwood Campus is exploring issues affecting LGBT staff and is led by Jonathan Matsui, PhD

  • PhD Student Group is building community among LGBT students, led by Maddy Jennewein and co-sponsored with the Division of Medical Sciences

  • Pride party with post-docs at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Along with Office for Recruitment and Minority Affairs, the LGBT Office supports LGBT students and their leadership through events and collaboration. Jessica is available to meet with students. Together we worked on:

  • National Coming Out Day photobooth featuring faculty, staff, and students

  • Revised and expanded OutList to include over 230 (and counting!) faculty and trainees, LGBT and allies who will be available for mentoring and support through the HMS-affiliated system. We welcome additions to this list by emailing

  • Jessica Halem counseled pre-med undergrads at the Harvard College Office for Career Services with Juan Jaime de Zengotita, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Creating greater visibility is one of the cornerstones of our mission. This year we had some great articles promoting the community and our work: