Wayne State social work faculty gains expert on gender and sexual minority health

J. Lloyd Allen has joined Wayne State University’s School of Social Work faculty as an assistant professor. His research explores issues related to gender and sexuality, HIV policy and advocacy, mental health and Black/African American gay men, community mobilization, program evaluation, masculinity, mental health, depression, substance abuse, and gender inequality. 

Allen received his Ph.D. (2017) in social work from the University of Georgia, his M.S.W. (2008) from Florida International University, and his bachelor’s in psychology (2004) from Hampden-Sydney College. His dissertation, “Parent-Child Communications with Self-Identified Out Gay Men: A Qualitative Study,” helped to unearth some unique insights regarding how to better improve policies, procedures, and interventions that may effectively reduce HIV infection rates, improve self-esteem among gay men, address potential mental health issues among gay males, and expand the various communication styles and techniques within this sub-group.

Over the years, Allen has amassed a vast amount of social work clinical experiences as well as helped to coordinate, oversee, and evaluate several public health, mental health, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection programs affecting GLBT individuals. As a graduate student, he collaborated on research projects examining the experiences of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals accessing alcohol misuse treatment, African American social work faculty publication success rates and scholarship character, and African American men and depression.

Allen said he joined the Wayne State social work faculty because of its support for interdisciplinary collaboration and because of its robust engagement with community partners across Metro Detroit for the promotion and protection of residents’ rights and well-being. He is also eager to advance the school’s work in the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work – an ambitious social agenda that social workers across the country and beyond are pursuing through scholarship and practice.

“My personal focus is the challenge of closing the health gap, specifically as it pertains to GLBT individuals and those who are HIV/AIDS-infected,” Allen said. “I hope to engage in rich dialogue with faculty, staff, students, and community partners regarding some of the perceived and actual barriers to accessing promising outcomes for GLBT individuals, some of which may be housing, access to adequate medical care, employment, and other resources. Additionally, I would like to infuse GLBT issues in classroom discussions, invite GLBT speakers to campus to promote greater understanding of gender and sexual identity development issues, and conduct research with GLBT individuals as it pertains to health care access, perception of social work education, and social work research on communications with GLBT individuals.”

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