Research Spotlight: Drs. Brian Feinstein and Lauren Beach

Dr. Brian Feinstein, Northwestern University

My name is Brian Feinstein and I am a Research Assistant Professor at the Northwestern University (NU) Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. Prior to joining the faculty at NU, I received my PhD in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University and I completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the NU Feinberg School of Medicine. My research focuses on the broad range of health disparities affecting sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations, especially those who are attracted to more than one gender (collectively referred to as bisexual+). In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that bisexual+ individuals are disproportionately affected by negative health outcomes—even more so than gay/lesbian individuals—yet they remain underrepresented in research. As such, my goals are to increase the representation of bisexual+ individuals in research, to increase societal awareness of the unique challenges facing bisexual+ individuals, and to develop interventions to improve bisexual+ individuals’ health and wellbeing.

My work in this area has identified several unique challenges related to dating and relationships that some bisexual+ individuals experience (e.g., being rejected as potential partners because of their bisexuality, being pressured by partners to change how they self-identify). I have also found that being open about one’s bisexuality can have negative consequences (e.g., depression), because it can expose bisexual+ individuals to discrimination from both heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals. Most recently, my research has focused on the sexual health of self-identified gay and bisexual men—groups that are typically combined as “men who have sex with men.” I have found that, compared to gay men, bisexual men are less likely to utilize HIV prevention resources (e.g., testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis) and more likely to use marijuana before sex. In the future, I hope to identify the causes of these differences as well as factors that contribute to resilience (e.g., pride in one’s bisexual identity). I also plan to focus on the health of bisexual adolescents and to develop an HIV prevention intervention specifically for this population.

I’m excited to celebrate Bisexual Health Awareness Month and to be a part of this effort to increase awareness of the health disparities affecting the bisexual+ community. There is a critical need for more research on bisexual+ individuals’ health and I am eager to continue contributing to this growing field.


Dr. Lauren Beach, Northwestern University

My name is Lauren Beach, and I am a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining Northwestern, I served as a HIV Public Health Corps Fellow in Lusaka, Zambia and a postdoctoral fellow and Director of LGBTI Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. I received my PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics (MCDB&G) in 2014 and my JD specialized in Health Law and Bioethics in 2012 from the University of Minnesota’s Joint Degree Program in Law, Health, and the Life Sciences.

My research is focused on studying how to decrease stigma to improve the health and healthcare of LGBTI people living with chronic conditions. Within nationally representative samples, my recent work has characterized how bisexual people perceive stigma coming from both LGBT and heterosexual people. I have also shown that gay and bisexual men have a higher prevalence of diabetes than heterosexual men. In September 2017, in partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, ISGMH, and notable bisexual activists and scholar Khafre Abif, and Dr. Herukhuti, I co-organized a bisexual health symposium focused on raising awareness and improving the health of bisexual people, especially those living with HIV.

In the future, I plan to continue to expand my research, advocacy, and community engagement efforts to improve the health and healthcare of LGBTI and in particular, bisexual people, ideally as a faculty member in an academic medical center.