University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Nicole VanKim

PhD, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences



Broadly, Dr. VanKim’s research area focuses on understanding and addressing disparities in weight-related health, primarily among LGBT populations. Aspects of weight-related health that Dr. VanKim examines include nutrition, physical activity, weight status, and type 2 diabetes.

The goal of Dr. VanKim’s research during her CRF scholar year is to develop a better understanding of how exposure to discrimination, stigma, and bias, on the basis of one’s sexual orientation, may increase risk in developing type 2 diabetes.  Specifically, she is interested in studying the potential mechanisms that contribute to sexual orientation disparities in type 2 diabetes among women; these potential mechanisms may be higher levels of cortisol and insulin resistance that exacerbate risk for type 2 diabetes among LGBT individuals.