Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative connects community

Based in Penn’s School of Nursing, the Eidos Initiative provides innovators in LGBTQ+ health with access to resources, research, and support from all of Penn’s 12 schools.

In November 2021, Penn announced a $750 million investment to advance pathbreaking contributions to innovative and impactful areas of medicine, public health, science, and technology.

José Bauermeister, Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations at Penn’s School of Nursing, saw an opportunity to address the overlooked area of LGBTQ+ health.

Three people discussing a document at a table at a conference.
In June 2023, Penn Nursing hosted the Summer Innovation Institute at Tangen Hall. The five-day event connected people active in health equity, including LGBTQ+ issues. (Image: Courtesy of Penn Giving)

“By many metrics, and my own research on the stigma and discrimination that contribute to health risks faced by people who identify as LGBTQ+, there is a crucial lack of solutions that address risk reduction in an integrative, humanistic way,” Bauermeister says. “As I thought about what an academic research center should look like in the 21st century, I realized that Penn has an abundance of knowledge and talent that can advance social innovation.”

From this match of need and understanding, the Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative was born. Its mission: to cultivate and engage leaders from community, academic, civic, and business spheres to create innovative health solutions for the LGBTQ+ community. “We want to demonstrate that we have the expertise, knowledge, and commitment to help advance their ventures or research,” says Bauermeister, who serves as founding faculty director.

Though based in Penn Nursing, Eidos aims to provide access to resources, research, and support from all of Penn’s 12 schools. “Penn has a unique set of minds to tackle these issues,” says Jessica Halem, senior director of the Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative. “Startups focused on LGBTQ+ health can benefit from connections to legal scholars, communications scholars, engineers, designers, computer scientists, and businesspeople. We’re here to connect those dots.”

“Sometimes, we take for granted how much knowledge we have, and how Penn people can connect to solve a problem or help an entrepreneur launch a venture,” says Bauermeister. “After word got out about Eidos, we had many faculty members contact us, eager to share their projects or connect us with students who wanted to work in this space.”

This story is by Carter Johns. Read more at Penn Giving.