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College of Nursing


Research Emphasis Areas

Vulnerable Populations

This core focuses on interventions and care strategies for at-risk populations to improve their health and well being.

Dr. Laura Hein, Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, and a recent inductee into the American Academy of Nursing, has spent her career focusing on health disparities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. She investigates LGBT health disparities within a social justice and public policy paradigm. The goal of her research is to impact public policy thereby decreasing LGBT health disparities and victimization. Dr. Hein’s most recent research investigated the acceptability of various aspects of a support-group intervention in the LGBT community in SC.

 She is the fifth nurse ever to serve on the Board of Directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality in its 30+ year history, and currently the only nurse on the board. Since she has been on the Board, they have submitted amicus briefs influencing appellate and U.S. Supreme Court decisions influencing law and policy related to LGBT health issues. She co-chaired the planning committee that held the first Nursing Summit at a GLMA conference and is on the planning committee for Nursing Summit to be held in September.

Recently, Dr. Hein was invited by HHS Secretary Sebelius to be one of 150 LGBT leaders in the country to go to the White House. This select group was briefed on the Affordable Care Act and the LGBT Community and encouraged to serve as ambassadors to members of the LGBT community on the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Hein has been an invited speaker / panelist on the LGBT community and the Affordable Care Act, a Keynote speaker on LGBT health disparities and an invited participant in the SC LGBT Leadership Summit. Additionally, she serves on the Board of the LGBT Center in Columbia, SC.  Her policy and programmatic work continues through GLMA and her work on the Board of the local LGBT Community Center. In GLMA she is co-chairing a committee of LGBT nurses working to form a Nursing Division within GLMA Nurses Advancing LGBTQ Health Equality (NALHE) - a professional home for LGBT nurses and allies. 

Faculty:
Beverly Baliko
Mary Boyd
Cristy DeGregory
Ronit Elk
Robin Estrada
Laura Hein
DeAnne Messias
Sabra Smith