College of Nursing faculty member’s latest research provides foundation for the study of health disparities among sexual and gender minorities

In two recent publications, Wayne State University College of Nursing Assistant Professor Marvin Solberg, PhD, RN, along with faculty and student collaborators, highlights new analyses to advance the understanding of sexual and gender minority (SGM) health outcomes in those with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).


Published in the American Journal of Public Health — the most widely read public health journal in the United States — “Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minorities With Adverse Childhood Experiences: Insights From the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data” identifies the prevalence of ACEs among sexual and gender minorities, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals. Solberg and his co-authors, Assistant Professor Lisa Blair, PhD, RN; Michigan State University College of Nursing Assistant Professor Emma Schlegel, PhD, MPA, RN; and WSU College of Nursing PhD student Julie Kurzer, MSN, RN, analyzed data from the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and responses from 38,483 eligible participants across various states who identified as SGM or non-SGM. The analysis revealed that 6.1% of respondents identified as an SGM, reporting higher ACE prevalence than did their non-SGM counterparts. Those adverse experiences were also shown to be a contributing factor to relationships between SGMs and a higher risk for depression, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, electronic nicotine delivery system use, and cannabis use.

In “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health Outcomes Among Sexual and Gender Minorities: A Systematic Review,” published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, Solberg and his WSU College of Nursing co-authors Rosalind Peters, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor emeritus, and PhD student Kafi Carr, examined the frequency of and relationship between ACEs and negative health outcomes among SGMs. Their work determined that SGMs reported a higher frequency of ACEs and that those experiences were associated with poorer mental and physical health outcomes as well as increased risky behaviors.

The studies elucidate the need for further research and targeted clinical interventions to fully understand and mitigate the impact of adversities experienced due to the sexual and/or gender orientation of this minority group.

“It is my hope that this work sparks broader conversations, policy changes and support systems for SGM individuals, fostering a healthier and more inclusive future for all,” Solberg said.

Faculty spotlight

← Back to listing