LGBTQ+ POC Researcher, Kiet Huynh, awarded Goldblum-Carr Fellowship

June 3, 2022
Kiet Huynh
 
In 2021, Kiet Huynh, PhD, was awarded the Goldblum-Carr two-year post-doctoral fellowship in LGBTQ+ psychology research at Palo Alto University (PAU). The goal of the Goldblum-Carr fellowship is to support early-career researchers working in the field of LGBTQ+ psychology. This fellowship is part of PAU’s Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR), which has a mission of advancing the health and well-being of diverse LGBTQ+ populations through innovative methods that bridge the gap between science and practice. The fellowship is named after Peter Goldblum, the founder of CLEAR, and his partner Michael Carr.
 
During his five years as a PhD in counseling psychology student at the University of Miami, Dr. Huynh focused on health disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals who also identified as people of color (LGBTQ+ POC). Dr. Huynh’s dissertation investigated the ways LGBTQ+ POCs cope with intersectional heterosexism and racism, and the resulting impact on mental health. 
 
“Individuals who identify as both LGBTQ+ and a person of color experience higher rates of mental health conditions compared to the LGBTQ+ general population because there is an additional layer of discrimination,” says Dr. Huynh. “My research explores the specific types of stress this subset population experiences, how these stressors impact their health, and how psychologists can help them to cope with those stressors.” 
 
In a 2022 publication, Dr. Huynh was among a team of researchers that investigated emotion-focused coping strategies to address the specific stress experiences of the LGBTQ+ POC population.
 
LGBTQ+ POC Research at Palo Alto University
 
The Goldblum-Carr fellowship brought Dr. Huynh to Palo Alto University in August 2021 to work in the Research on Intersectional Sexual and Gender Identity Experiences (RISE) lab, led by PAU professor and CLEAR director, Kimberly Balsam, PhD. 
 
In 2011, Dr. Balsam developed the LGBT People of Color Microaggressions Scale, which has been widely used by researchers, including Dr. Huynh, to measure discrimination experiences and predict health outcomes for LGBTQ+ POC. Over the past decade, however, researchers have identified additional forms of discrimination that were not captured by this original measure. As part of his two-year fellowship, Dr. Huynh is co-leading a research team with Dr. Balsam to create an updated and extended measurement tool for the LGBTQ+ POC population.
 
“Working with Dr. Balsam, I’ve learned so much about measurement development,” says Dr. Huynh. “It’s not always clear how to improve mental health for this population, however, this updated measurement tool will enhance the ability of researchers to accurately identify stress factors that lead to health disparities, as well as develop interventions and policies to effectively address these factors.” 
 
Dr. Huynh enjoys working in the Bay Area where the health concerns of both LGBTQ+ communities and people of color are recognized and valued. Along with working with Dr. Balsam, he has had many positive experiences collaborating on research projects with members of the PAU faculty who hold the same values of social justice and health equality for LGBTQ+ populations. 
 
“One thing I appreciate about PAU is that there is an emphasis on both research and clinical therapies for LBGTQ+ communities,” says Dr. Huynh, referencing the Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic, which trains PAU PhD and PsyD students to work competently with LGBTQ+ clients. “Most universities don’t have one of these components, but PAU has both.” 
 
Looking Back, Looking Forward
 
Dr. Huynh was born in Vietnam and grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. At UC San Diego, he studied psychology and philosophy as an undergraduate, then earned his master’s degree in multicultural counseling. In 2014, he began the PhD in counseling psychology program at the University of Miami. As someone who identifies as gay and Vietnamese American, Dr. Huynh saw the considerable need for LGBTQ+ POC research during his five years as a PhD student and decided to focus his research career on developing measurement tools to improve the health and well-being of this population.
 
“I’m a part of this community, therefore I deeply care about this community,” says Dr. Huynh. “Because of the Goldblum-Carr fellowship, I’m able to dedicate my career to what I’m passionate about—research on LGBTQ+ people of color, as well as measurement tools. What is unique about this postdoc is that I get to dedicate 100 percent of my time to what I’m interested in, so this has helped me develop the skills I need to really make a difference in this field.”