ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/01/2017 |
FROM THE FALL 2017 ISSUE
Health and kinesiology assistant professor Phillip Schnarrs sees his research as a way to be a social activist. Under a broad category of LGBTQ health, he focuses on health promotion—like prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV—as well as how people cope with stigma and discrimination.
This fall he was chosen as a fellow in the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project includes mentorship and leadership training in community-engaged, action-oriented research that focuses on policy change. Working with community partners, including Pride Center San Antonio and Equality Texas, Schnarrs will look at how research can impact public policy. After the conclusion of the three-year study the goal would be to build community connections and processes to help give individuals a voice in creating policy.
"His program is a first step toward bringing together our community to learn from each other, strengthen our ties, and advocate for equality."
“I very much want San Antonio to become a beacon of hope for LGBTQ+ individuals in all of Texas—but especially South Texas,” Schnarrs says. “This program is a first step toward bringing together our community to learn from each other, strengthen our ties, and advocate for equality through the use of empirical data collected by the LGBTQ+ community for the LGBTQ+ community.”
His work also extends beyond Texas. Last year, Schnarrs developed a collaboration with researchers at Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Together with UT Health San Antonio faculty, he’s studying HIV prevention in the sexual minority men and transgender women in San Antonio and Mexico and is examining access to health care among sexual minority men in Mexico. The university partners have applied for two grants, which are under review, with ConTex, a joint initiative of the University of Texas System and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology to foster collaboration between the United States and Mexico.
Schnarrs also cofounded UTSA’s LGBTQ faculty and staff association in 2013. The group works as a social support system, and each semester it picks a gay-friendly or gay-owned establishment for a gathering. He says the group also hopes to bring more awareness events to campus. “One thing we’ve been trying to do forever is to bring to UTSA one of the traveling exhibits from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” Schnarrs says. “With this exhibit, we could talk more broadly about issues like diversity and persecution and what happens when we don’t accept people for who they are.”
Contact Schnarrs at firstname.lastname@example.org about the LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association.