Research Statement

Health, health disparities, and the pursuit of health equity among marginalized populations form the core of my research agenda, theoretically grounded in health equity and minority stress perspectives. I am particularly interested in the health and well-being of midlife and older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) midlife and older adults. Researchers have only recently begun to examine LGBTQ older adults as a population distinct from heterosexual older adults, and from their younger LGBTQ peers. Compared to their heterosexual age peers, midlife and older lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults have significantly higher rates of many chronic health conditions, as well as higher rates of psychological distress. Midlife and older transgender adults appear to have even poorer physical and mental health than non-transgender midlife and older lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. I have recently focused on understanding the causes, correlates, and consequences of the disparately highly rates of psychological distress and depression documented among LGBTQ older adults.  Even low levels of psychological distress have been associated with elevated risks of premature chronic disease and mortality. The Institute of Medicine pointed out in its recent report on the health of LGBTQ Americans that documentation of population health disparities is a preliminary step in addressing health disparities, but illuminating the underlying relationships among risk and protective factors is essential to the development and implementation of culturally appropriate, effective interventions.

My particular interest in LGBTQ older adults began to coalesce during my master’s program. As a clinical intern (and subsequently clinical staff) at Seattle Counseling Service for Sexual Minorities (SCS), one specific experience was the catalyst that ignited my passion in serving LGBTQ older adults. One of my first clients, a 57-year-old gay man took his own life as a result of extreme psychological distress in the face of near-certain destitution because of discriminatory laws and policies that at that time did not recognize his 20-year relationship with another man. This tragedy became the impetus for my decision to pursue a doctorate and gain the skills to generate scholarship to inform practice and policy change that will benefit LGBTQ older adults. My research has provided me with unparalleled opportunities to identify how historical and current social contexts (including laws and policies) have and continue to marginalize LGBTQ older adults and negatively impact their health and well-being. Attending to these historical and current social contexts also benefits younger LGBTQ people, as they are tomorrow’s LGBTQ older adults; it also profits non-LGBTQ individuals by fostering understanding of how such marginalization can negatively impact the health and well-being of minority groups.

I have had the privilege to be part of the National Health, Aging, & Sexuality Study: Caring & Aging with Pride Over Time (NHAS), the first federally funded, national project of its kind to examine the health and aging needs of LGBTQ older adults.[1] Findings from the NHAS, now a longitudinal study have been used to support an amendment to the Older Americans Act, which would (among other provisions) designate "LGBTQ older adults as a vulnerable population with greatest economic and social need as a result of a lifetime of discrimination," and prioritize research to address LGBTQ health disparities and equity. NHAS research was also presented at the first White House conference on LGBTQ aging, an Invited Congressional Briefing, and is being used to influence social policies that impact the lives of LGBTQ older adults in a multitude of other ways.

I am currently researching the relative roles of internal minority stressors (e.g., concealment of minority identity, internalized heterosexism), perceived general stress, and the mental health of older LGBTQ adults. I am also exploring whether and how gender identity may differentially influence the pathways of risk that lead to depression among transgender older adults and their non-transgender lesbian, gay, and bisexual counterparts. The overarching goal of my research agenda is to better understand how barriers to health equity, such as discrimination and victimization, 'get under the skin' to manifest as disease in order to design and implement interventions that promote LGBTQ health equity.

I engage the next generation of social work practitioners and scholars, bringing my research and practice experience into the classroom, highlighting interconnections between research, policy, practice, education, and service delivery. I use research findings to show how policies directly and indirectly affect the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. In conjunction with ‘real life’ practice examples, students’ understanding of abstract theoretical concepts and the practical selection and application of evidence-based interventions is facilitated.  

[1] Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), R01 AG026526, Fredriksen-Goldsen, PI.



  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Shiu, C-S., Kim, H-J., Sullivan, K., Sturges, A., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. (upcoming, 2017, July). Transgender older adults – Military service, identity stigma, and mental health: Changes over time. Paper submitted to 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, San Francisco, CA. Conference Paper, Refereed, Accepted, 12/15/2016.
  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2016, November). Community engagement in hard to reach populations. In The development of evidenceā€based practices: Expanding the reach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Invited pre-conference workshop at The Gerontological Society (GSA) of America's 69th Annual Scientific Meeting, New Orleans, LA. Presentation, Presented, 11/2016.
  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. (2016, January). Depression among transgender older adults: Differential impact of minority and general stress. Paper presentation at the 20th annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, DC. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 01/2016.


  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2017). Chapter 8: Older adults. In K. L. Eckstrand & J. Potter (Eds.), Trauma, resilience, and health promotion for LGBT patients: What every healthcare provider should know. New York: Springer. Published, 06/2017.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., & Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2017). LGBT older adults emerging from the shadows: Health disparities, risks & resilience. Understanding networks of care. In J. M. Wilmoth & M. D. Silverstein (Eds.), Later-life social support and service provision in diverse and vulnerable populations. New York, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc. Published, 06/2017.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., & Brown, M. (2017). Addressing behavioral cancer risks from a LGBT health equity perspective. In U. Boehmer & R. Elk (Eds.), Cancer and the LGBT community: Unique perspectives from risk to survivorship (pp. 37-62). New York, NY: Springer. Published, 05/2017.
  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. (2017). The mental health of transgender older adults: General and minority stress. American Journal of Community Psychology, 59(3-4), 295-305. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12138. Published, 02/2017.
  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Shiu, C-S., Sullivan, K., Kim, H-J., Sturges, A. M., &. Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. (2017). Prior military service, identity stigma, and mental health among transgender older adults. The Gerontologist, 57(1), S63-S71 Published, 01/13/2017.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I. & Hoy-Ellis, Charles P. (2016). Lesbian, gay, & bisexual older adults: linking internal minority stressors, chronic health conditions, and depression. Informa UK Limited. 1-10. Published, 2016.
  • Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Ator, M., Kerr, C. & Milford, J. (2016). Innovative approaches to address aging and mental health needs in LGBT communities. Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging. Published, 07/01/2016.
  • Hoy-Ellis CP (2016). Concealing Concealment: The Mediating Role of Internalized Heterosexism in Psychological Distress Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older Adults. Journal of homosexuality. Vol. 63, 487-506. Published, 03/01/2016.
  • Hoy-Ellis, Charles P. (2015). Concealing Concealment: The Mediating Role of Internalized Heterosexism in Psychological Distress among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older Adults. Informa UK Limited. 1-20. Published, 2015.
  • Emlet, C. A., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H. J., & Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2015). The relationship between sexual minority stigma and sexual health risk behaviors among HIV-positive older gay and bisexual men. Journal of Applied Gerontology. Advance online access. doi: 0733464815591210. Accepted, 12/2015.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Muraco, A., Goldsen, J., & Kim, H.-J. (2014).The health and well-being of LGBT older adults: Disparities, risks and resilience across the life course. In N. A. Orel & C. A. Fruhauf (Eds.), The lives of LGBT older adults: Understanding challenges and resilience (pp. 25-54). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Published, 02/2015.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen KI, Simoni JM, Kim HJ, Lehavot K, Walters KL, Yang J, Hoy-Ellis CP & Muraco A (2014). The health equity promotion model: Reconceptualization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health disparities. The American journal of orthopsychiatry. Vol. 84, 653-63. Published, 12/01/2014.
  • Emlet, Charles A., Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I., Goldsen, Jayn, Hooyman, Nancy R. & Hoy-Ellis, Charles P. (2014). Creating a Vision for the Future: Key Competencies and Strategies for Culturally Competent Practice With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults in the Health and Human Services. Informa UK Limited. 140226085624001. Published, 2014.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I., Simoni, Jane M., Kim, Hyun-Jun, Lehavot, Keren, Walters, Karina L., Yang, Joyce, Hoy-Ellis, Charles P. & Muraco, Anna (2014). The health equity promotion model: Reconceptualization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health disparities. American Psychological Association (APA). Vol. 84(6), 653-663. Published, 2014.
  • Cook-Daniels, L., Emlet, C. A., Erosheva, E. A., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Goldsen, J., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Kim, H.-J. & Muraco, A. (2014). Physical and Mental Health of Transgender Older Adults: An At-Risk and Underserved Population. Oxford University Press (OUP). Published, 2014.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen KI, Cook-Daniels L, Kim HJ, Erosheva EA, Emlet CA, Hoy-Ellis CP, Goldsen J & Muraco A (2014). Physical and mental health of transgender older adults: an at-risk and underserved population. The Gerontologist. Vol. 54, 488-500. Published, 05/01/2014.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen KI, Hoy-Ellis CP, Goldsen J, Emlet CA & Hooyman NR (2014). Creating a vision for the future: key competencies and strategies for culturally competent practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults in the health and human services. Journal of gerontological social work. Vol. 57, 80-107. Published, 05/01/2014.
  • Barkan, Susan E., Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I., Hoy-Ellis, Charles P., Kim, Hyun-Jun & Muraco, Anna (2013). Health Disparities Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older Adults: Results From a Population-Based Study. American Public Health Association. Vol. 103(10), 1802-1809. Published, 2013.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., Kim, H.-J., Muraco, A., Erosheva, E. A., Goldsen, J. & Emlet, C. A. (2013). The Physical and Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay Male, and Bisexual (LGB) Older Adults: The Role of Key Health Indicators and Risk and Protective Factors. Oxford University Press (OUP). Vol. 53(4), 664-675. Published, 2013.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen KI, Kim HJ, Barkan SE, Muraco A & Hoy-Ellis CP (2013). Health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults: results from a population-based study. American journal of public health. Vol. 103, 1802-9. Published, 09/01/2013.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen KI, Emlet CA, Kim HJ, Muraco A, Erosheva EA, Goldsen J & Hoy-Ellis CP (2013). The physical and mental health of lesbian, gay male, and bisexual (LGB) older adults: the role of key health indicators and risk and protective factors. The Gerontologist. Vol. 53, 664-75. Published, 07/01/2013.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H.-J., Emlet, C. A., Muraco, A., Erosheva, E. A., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., . . . Petry, H. (2011). The aging and health report: Disparities and resilience among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. Retrieved from Seattle, WA:. Published, 11/2011.
  • Hoy-Ellis, Charles P. & Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I. (2007). Caregiving with Pride: An Introduction. Informa UK Limited. Vol. 18(3-4), 1-13. Published, 2007.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I. & Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2007). Is AIDS chronic or terminal? The perceptions of persons living with AIDS and their informal support partners. Informa UK Limited. Vol. 19(7), 835-843. Published, 2007.
  • Hoy-Ellis CP & Fredriksen-Goldsen KI (2007). Is AIDS chronic or terminal? The perceptions of persons living with AIDS and their informal support partners. AIDS care. Vol. 19, 835-43. Published, 08/01/2007.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., & Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2007). Caregiving with pride: An introduction. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 18(3/4), 1 - 13. Published, 06/2007.
  • Howard, R., Hy, L. X., Van Verst, M. E., Ellis, C., & Prado, M. L. (2004). Capital gains. Principal Leadership 5(1), 35 - 37. Published, 06/2004.
  • Hy, L. X. & Ellis, C. (2002). Walt Whitman reveals the soul (and body) of American poetry (in Vietnamese). Chu De, 9, 129 - 135. Published, 06/2002.