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About the Lab

Mission Statement

The Health Education and Rural Empowerment (HEaRE) Laboratory promotes knowledge about the unique experiences of sexual orientation gender identity (SOGI) in rural, remote and geographically diverse areas of the United States and of the world. To this end, we explore interactions and/or relationships between identity, location and health. We advocate for SOGI populations based on our findings.  


Goals and Objectives

  • To facilitate research among people who identify as sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI) diverse, especially in rural, remote or geographically unique areas of the United States and globally.
  • To inform training and education aimed at promoting a clearer understanding of SOGI populations and health concerns, especially in rural or remote areas of the US.
  • To develop theory that will guide future research and practice with SOGI populations.
  • To inform best practices and promote affirmative and evidence-based practice in work with SOGI clients.
  • Advocate with SOGI populations utilizing research and knowledge that is directly drawn from and informed by those populations.


Guiding Principles

Our lab is guided by humility, awareness and intention as researchers. Our approach is holistic, humanistic and feminist and focuses on empowering SOGI people and communities. We engage in reflexivity; we explore our own positions of privilege as we promote the understanding of intersectionality, and we recognize our power in knowledge creation. We approach our research in an interdisciplinary manner and hold ourselves accountable to the communities and larger systems in which we function. Our research is tied to the greater goals of addressing cissexism, heterosexism, classism, racism, ableism and other forms of oppression. Thus, our work includes a critical consciousness perspective of our own findings and of existing research findings and models.

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