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Dr. Michael Pelts & Dr. David Albright

Wounded Bonds: Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual (GLB) Military Service Members and Veterans

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“In regards to LGB veterans… in our education we really need to emphasize how societal stigma impacts the individual and impacts their health, mental health, and also impacts service delivery… it is very important not to assume heterosexuality and I think we must emphasize that in our trainings and our education in social work, not assume gender, and continue to explore ways that people cannot impose their personal values and be inclusive of military members and veterans and be inclusive of LGBT people.”

Dr. Michael Pelts &
Dr. David Albright

In this episode, our guests Dr. Michael Pelts and Dr. David Albright discuss their recent work examining the history and context of the U.S. military’s treatment of GLB service members and veterans. They describe their review of the social work profession’s literature related to this population over the past twenty-plus years, implications for social work education and practice, and the training needed by social workers to competently serve this population.

Michael Pelts, PhD, MSW, joined The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work in the fall of 2015 while completing the PhD program at the University of Missouri. Pelts’ research interests include service provision with sexual and gender minorities, military members and veterans, older adults, minority stress theory and health disparities, intergroup contact theory, and culturally-informed evidence-based practice. In his dissertation research, Pelts tested an intervention designed to increase the awareness of older lesbians and gay men in long-term care settings. Funding for Pelts’ dissertation research was provided by the University of Missouri Interdisciplinary Center on Aging Research Enrichment and Dissemination (READ) program. Before returning to the University of Missouri to pursue a PhD, Pelts worked as a psychiatric social worker in forensic services for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Pelts has experience administering social programs in nonprofit organizations providing social, vocational, and residential support for people with developmental disabilities and people with mental illness.

David L. Albright, PhD, MSW, is an associate professor and the Hill Crest Foundation endowed chair in mental health research at The University of Alabama. He is a military veteran and former research fellow with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the RAND Corporation’s Center for Military Health Policy Research. His scholarship primarily focuses on health promotion and behavioral change among military personnel, veterans, their families and communities, and the organizations that support them. Dr. Albright has a particular interest in understanding the consequences and correlates of military service that include social determinants and related conditions that influence the health and mental health of veterans and their dependents. In addition, he looks to best understand which services would best meet their needs, across service delivery systems, including criminal justice, medical, and postsecondary institutions. He is currently the primary investigator for the South Alabama Veterans Needs Assessment and co-primary investigator for the NICHD-funded Service Member to Civilian Summit.

Interviewer: Lisa Butler, PhD

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