Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation - Restricted (NYMC/Touro only) Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health


Public Health

First Advisor

Adam Block

Second Advisor

Candidus Nwakasi

Third Advisor

Shane Lloyd


Historically, sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) have been systematically subjected to expressions of sexual and gender oppression (SGO). SGO is manifested at interpersonal, communal, and structural levels and contributes to disproportionate victimization rates, poor health-seeking behaviors, and adverse health outcomes among SGMs. This study investigated opportunities to leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs to improve the health and wellness of SGM employees. It applied a qualitative description (QD) approach and utilized in-depth interviewing for data collection. The researchers implemented a semi-structured questionnaire protocol with a purposeful sample of 23 SGMs in 13 states employed by 15 companies executing DEI programs. We recorded the interviews, transcribed them, and uploaded them to Dedoose for electronic analysis. The study excerpted 819 quotes organized across 10 themes and 23 sub-themes to develop the findings. SGMs’ foremost vulnerabilities were violence from the security forces and strangers; sexual prejudice and victimization at work; depression, addiction, and alcohol use; and bias and discrimination at healthcare facilities. Organizations have a strategic opportunity to promote SGM health and wellness by establishing psychological safety, deconstructing stigma, demystifying and normalizing SGM people, empowering SGMs to navigate and mitigate health and wellness vulnerabilities, and enhancing leadership accountability for evidence-based policy development and programming. Psychologically safe employees are more committed, motivated, collegial, collaborative, creative, and innovative. Organizations and communities collectively thrive when they dismantle redundant systems of oppression that perpetuate hate, disharmony, and ill health.