Holloway on Slow Uptake of HIV Prevention Medication

Associate Professor of Social Welfare Ian Holloway was featured in an Instinct Magazine piece about a multi-year study of PrEP familiarity and use among gay and bisexual men. PrEP, a preventative medicine for people at risk for HIV, can be highly effective when taken as prescribed. Holloway’s study found that while gay and bisexual men are more familiar with PrEP than in the past, many are still not using the medicine. “We are heartened to see an increase in PrEP familiarity in this relatively short period of time,” said Holloway, faculty director of the Gay Sexuality and Social Policy Initiative at UCLA Luskin. “But growth in favorable attitudes was modest, as was the increase in PrEP use among sexually active gay and bisexual men.” Looking forward, Holloway hopes to learn more about why PrEP use is still not very popular among at-risk men. The research was also featured in media outlets including Out and Edge.

Holloway Wins Grant to Study Cannabis Marketing to LGBTQ Youth

Ian Holloway, associate professor of social welfare, has received a grant of more than $400,000 from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control to advance his research into the impact of cannabis marketing targeting sexual and gender minority youth. The growing cannabis industry is aggressively pitching its products to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth through online and print media, Holloway said. His research will seek to measure the reach of that messaging and determine whether it leads to greater cannabis use among this group of young people. Filling these knowledge gaps could help explain cannabis-related health disparities among LGBTQ youth and identify targets for regulation of cannabis marketing, he said. Holloway is director of the Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice at UCLA Luskin and a member of the Cannabis Research Initiative at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He and Evan Krueger, a post-doctoral scholar at USC’s Health, Emotion & Addiction Laboratory, are principal investigators of the study. Their grant from the Bureau of Cannabis Control is a portion of nearly $30 million recently awarded to California universities to study the impact of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for people 21 or older. Across UCLA, faculty and research centers have been awarded $6.4 million from the bureau to study topics including the toxicity of inhaled and second-hand cannabis smoke and employment conditions in California’s cannabis industry. UCLA’s extended track record for cutting-edge cannabis research dates as far back as the 1970s.


UCLA Luskin Social Welfare PhD Virtual Information Session

Come join Professor Ian Holloway, Doctoral Program Chair, for an information session regarding the Social Welfare PhD program at UCLA. He will provide an overview of the doctoral program, as well as the combined MSW/PhD program, and introduce Social Welfare faculty, current doctoral students and staff.

Blood Donation Ban Rooted in Fear, Not Science, Holloway Says

Associate Professor of Social Welfare Ian Holloway was featured in a Washington Post video about the FDA’s recent decision to ease restrictions on blood donations from gay men. In 1985, the FDA prohibited blood donations from men who had sex with other men even once since 1977. “I think it’s important to recognize that the ban really is rooted in discriminatory attitudes and based on fear and not science,” Holloway explained. In 2015, the lifetime ban became a 12-month ban, which was lowered to three months of abstinence this year. Many gay men who have recovered from COVID-19 have been disheartened to find that they are unable to donate antibodies due to the restrictions. “Many hold the opinion, myself included, that the ban is based on stigma, not science,” Holloway said. “I think the shortening of the deferral period is a step in the right direction, but I don’t think it goes far enough.”

Holloway on Lingering Effects of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

An article in the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Trauma Blog featured research by Associate Professor of Social Welfare Ian Holloway on sexual harassment among LGBT service members. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy formerly in place in the U.S. military was intended to protect these service members by allowing them to serve and keep their sexual identity confidential, but it likely encouraged discrimination instead. Although the policy was repealed in 2011, new research by Holloway shows the lingering effects of the environment it created. A survey of over 500 active duty service members in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps found that experiences of sexual assault during military service were roughly twice as common among LGB and transgender service members compared to non-LGBT service members. Holloway and his team concluded that “LGBT members remain at elevated risk of sexual and stalking victimization experiences in the post-DADT military environment.”

Holloway Study Reveals Support for Transgender Troops

Associate Professor of Social Welfare Ian Holloway spoke to Gay City News about the findings of a survey he co-authored that gauged support of transgender troops within the military. Two-thirds of the survey respondents indicated their support for transgender people serving in the U.S. military, a statistic that challenges the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. “In terms of our hypothesis about acceptance, we did expect to find high levels of acceptance — but I don’t think we expected it to be this high,” Holloway said. The report, also covered by LGBTQ Nation, found that support of transgender service members was higher among women, racial minorities, and gay, lesbian and bisexual people than heterosexual white respondents. According to Holloway, the survey “speaks to the importance of diversity in the armed forces, and there have been some concerted efforts to increase representation in the military.”

This Election Year, We Have 2020 Vision The race for U.S. president comes to town, and the UCLA Luskin community is there to make sure candidates take a stand on issues of importance

By Stan Paul

Students at UCLA Luskin always have many opportunities to seek out public policy discourse and engage in political activities. But during the 2020 presidential election campaign, some of the opportunities for political engagement have been coming directly to them.

In December, the top Democratic contenders for the U.S. presidency were in Los Angeles for a closely watched debate that set the stage for the caucus and primary season soon to follow. And just a few weeks beforehand, students like first-year Master of Public Policy student Tamera Hyatte participated as questioners of presidential candidates during a live telecast of a town hall-style forum that focused on LGBTQ issues.

“Get ready, you’re going on!” was Hyatte’s cue. Moments later, she was asking Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke face to face — and on split screen for viewers — what protections he, as president, would put in place to safeguard transgender women of color. In her question, Hyatt noted that transsexual women of color are killed at an alarming rate.

“I thought he answered it fairly well,” Hyatte said of the former Texas congressman’s response. “I think a lot of the candidates being asked specific questions were caught off-guard, because I don’t think these are issues they generally look into,” added the former middle-school teacher. She said her interests include educational issues affecting LGBTQ students in K-12 as well as education in communities of color.

Hyatte was among a sizable contingent of UCLA Luskin graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff who attended the Oct. 10 Democratic presidential forum in downtown Los Angeles that was hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. And she was among a handful selected to ask a question of a Democratic candidate at the forum, which included candidates Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren.

Ayse Seker, a second-year UCLA undergraduate student and public affairs pre-major at UCLA Luskin, was selected to question Booker, a U.S. senator from New Jersey, on the sometimes-conflicting juxtaposition of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights. Seker, who is also from New Jersey, said her question was based on her own experience attending a religious-based high school.

“I wish he could have gotten more specific on the issues of Catholic schools and the rights their students have; sometimes our very identities are at conflict with an institution’s canonical ideas,” Seker said. “But I do appreciate the messaging of his response, as it is important for there to be representation of someone who is both outspokenly religious and a champion for LGBTQ rights.”

In fall quarter, Seker was enrolled in Public Affairs 80, a prerequisite for the public affairs major that explores how the policy environment shapes human development. Her professor, Ian Holloway of UCLA Luskin Social Welfare, joined her at the event and provided useful commentary between candidates. She also appreciated his tips on public speaking prior to her on-camera moment.

Holloway said he was proud to see UCLA Luskin students asking tough questions of the candidates. “It was helpful for our students to think critically about how policies being debated, such as the trans military ban or pharmaceutical pricing, impact the lives of LGBTQ Americans.”

Kevin Medina MPP / MSW ’15 is now the capstone advisor and coordinator for UCLA Luskin’s undergraduate major. Like Hyatte and Seker, he had applied in early September to attend the event and ask a question, and he was notified that his question had been chosen just a couple of days before the forum. He asked California candidate Tom Steyer about his plan to combat “the erasure of LGBTQ Americans’ identities on the 2020 Census.”

“I hope asking this question on a national platform elevates the importance of this issue and puts it on the radar of those with the power to positively effect change,” Medina said after the event. He said the Census Bureau plans to collect data on same-sex partners. “However, this question does not gain information about transgender people or LGBTQ people who are single or not living with a same-gender partner.”

Hyatte, who studied journalism as an undergrad, was appreciative of the opportunity to become directly engaged in the electoral process. When she chose UCLA for graduate school, “I didn’t even know we would be able to participate in something like this.”

Reflecting on the experience afterward, Hyatte said, “I think a lot of the candidates may want to brush up more on informing themselves about the issues that are happening in the LGBTQ community.” At the same time, the forum — which was held the day before the 31st annual National Coming Out Day — was also instructive for her.

“Just for myself, sitting in the audience, there were questions brought up that I didn’t even think about asking, and it makes me think, ‘Wow, I want to look more into that and really see what’s going on,’” she said. “It makes me think about how I can also include LGBTQ issues into my research on education policy because I think that’s also relevant.”

Relevance was key for Seker as well. “Within public affairs classes, we’re constantly learning about the vast array of issues that plague our society and the institutions and their history that perpetuate them.” The town hall demonstrated how diverse and multifaceted the LGBTQ community is, she said, and it highlighted a number of LGBTQ-related issues and concerns “that find their roots in a myriad of intersecting oppressive systems.”

Being within the Luskin School means a nearly constant stream of interesting opportunities for political engagement, Seker said a few days after the forum. “The fact that this was only during Week 2 of fall quarter makes me eager and excited for all the future opportunities and events the Luskin School will offer me throughout the rest of this school year.”

And Seker is right — UCLA Luskin will host a full calendar of public events and politics-related opportunities for students and alumni through Election Day 2020.

Tobacco and LGBTQ Communities

Join Ian Holloway, associate professor of social welfare and director of the Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice at UCLA, as he shares his research on tobacco use among LGBTQ Californians in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout. Press conference will be followed by a Big Queer Convo community forum. In addition to Holloway, participants include:
~ We Breathe: Supporting Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Communities
~ Out Against Big Tobacco Coalition – EQCA
~ TransLatina Coalition
~ Latino Equality Alliance
~ L.A. Department of Public HealthDr. Michael Ong – Professor, Medicine & ~ Health Policy and Management at UCLA, and Chair for California’s
~ Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee
~ LGBTQ advocates

RSVP today!

Holloway Wins Grant to Merge Technology, LGBTQ Health

Ian Holloway, associate professor of social welfare, has received an Avenir Award of more than $2 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to advance his research into health interventions for LGBTQ communities. Holloway leads a UCLA team that is developing a social media tool designed to offer highly personalized health information to prevent substance abuse and HIV infection among gay men. Under a previous grant, the researchers built a library of nearly 12,000 data points made up of text phrases and emojis that correlate with offline health behaviors. Holloway’s Avenir Award will be used to create a machine-learning system that will monitor social media interactions with participants’ consent, then send customized health reminders and other alerts via an app. The team’s goal is to develop a wide-reaching and cost-effective tool to promote public health, said Holloway, director of the Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice at UCLA Luskin. The Avenir Awards, named for the French word for “future,” provide grants to early-stage researchers who propose highly innovative studies, particularly in the field of HIV and addiction.


Holloway on Protections for LGBTQ Travelers

Ian Holloway, associate professor of social welfare, spoke with NBC News about Tinder’s new personal security feature aimed at protecting users in countries that are hostile to LGBTQ communities. In these countries, the dating app will keep gender identity and sexual orientation private and will prompt travelers to take other precautions. Noting that the LGBTQ community uses dating apps at a relatively high rate, Holloway welcomed the new protections but said apps that specifically cater to gay users face additional challenges.  “Tinder’s Traveler Alert is a great idea, but I wonder how it would translate to LGBTQ-specific platforms, where people know others’ sexuality by virtue of being on those apps,” he said.