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LGBT+ Older Adult Project

An Initiative of the School of Social Work at Monmouth University

Coordinator: Jeanne Koller, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW (she/her/hers)

Mission Statement and Strategic Pillars

The LGBT+ Older Adult Project, an initiative of the School of Social Work, seeks to improve the quality of life of older LGBT+ adults. The Project aims to achieve this mission through four strategic pillars:

  1. Research
  2. Education
  3. Advocacy
  4. Community Service and Initiatives

Project Services

Cultural Sensitivity Training (General Audience)

By providing training to agencies that work with older adults, we create an awareness of the unique concerns and service needs of LGBT+ older adults.  We can provide a general one hour program “LGBT+ Older Adults” or programs can be custom tailored to your needs, ranging from 1-5 hours in length. For more information about possible trainings and costs please contact Coordinator Jeanne Koller at

Cultural Sensitivity Training (Long-term Care Facilities)

Training packages have been designed to meet the state of New Jersey’s requirements for long-term care facilities as specified in the New Jersey LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights passed on March 3, 2021. Our training packages include both in-person workshops and online self-study modules. Issues specific to LGBT+ older adults and older adults living with HIV are addressed. For more information about our offerings please contact Coordinator Jeanne Koller at

About LGBT Older Adults

  • LGBT+ older adults are more likely than the general population to live and age alone.
  • This isolation is likely due to real or perceived fear of discrimination, and can be very damaging to the LGBT+ older adult’s well-being.
  • It is not uncommon to find that an LGBT+ older adult’s family have abandoned him or her, or friends and partners have passed or are unable to provide social support due to complications from aging.

Past Events

 Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary/Gender Diverse Adults: Narratives through Art.

Art exhibit, January 23, 2023- March 10, 2023, Pollak Art Gallery, Monmouth University. As told in their own voices through art and film this exhibit seeks to share some of the diverse lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming older adults (T/GNC) in the United States and throughout the world. The exhibit centers T/GNC individuals’ unique narratives and make their lives visible. We hope that this program provides a path to unite a wide audience in a shared experience.

Did you miss visiting this exhibit? Click below to view the artwork online!

Film Screening & Discussion, Friday February 10, 2023, 11:00 am- 1:30 pm, Pollak Theatre, Monmouth University. The film From this Day Forward will be shown and followed by  discussion with the director Sharon Shattuck and her parents Trisha and Marcia Shattuck. The film is a moving portrayal of a family coping after Sharon’s father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha. Trisha and her wife Marcia stayed together, and as the family came together to plan Sharon’s wedding, Sharon sought understanding of how her parents’ marriage survived.

Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary/Gender Diverse Adults Conference, January 29, 2022, 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm EST via Zoom. Keynote speaker Loree Cook-Daniels, M.S. Three panels of speakers: Panel 1- Lived Experiences; Panel 2- Healthcare; Panel 3- Mental Healthcare.

The LGBT+ Older Adult “Cross-Gen Pride” Podcast Series

podcast series was initiated in 2020 by Chelsea Smith, MSW student intern and volunteer, and features interviews with LGBT+ adults across the lifespan sharing their stories. The series also now includes informational podcasts about services for the community. Chelsea Smith, Dominique Lengyel, and Mars Graves have been the hosts of these episodes, and Chelsea has also served as the audio editor. Be sure to listen!

Research Initiatives

Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary/Gender Diverse Adults.

Drs. Paul Urbanski and Jeanne Koller initiated a qualitative research study in July 2022 focusing on the lives of adults age 50+ who identify as transgender and/or gender nonbinary/gender diverse. Interviews were conducted and the results of the findings are currently being analyzed.

As We Age: Listening to the Voices of LGBTQ Older Adults

In cooperation with Stockton University and Garden State Equality, Monmouth University’s LGBT+ Older Adult Project conducted a qualitative study designed as phase one of a NJ statewide needs assessment. The aim was to explore the experiences of LGBT+ older adults now and their expectations and plans for care as they age. To hear more about this study, its findings, and implications watch Chelsea Smith’s interview with three of the researchers- Drs. Cummings, Dunkle, and Bradley on YouTube.

Tune in using this link:

If you prefer, read the published article!

Cummings, C. R., Dunkle, J. S., Mayes, B. C., Bradley, C. A., Petruzzella, F., & Maguire, K. (2021). As we age: Listening to the voice of LGBTQ older adults. Social Work in Public Health, 36(4), 509-525.

NJ LGBT+ Community Responses to COVID-19

In cooperation with Nazareth College, Stockton University, Garden State Equality, and the VNA of Central Jersey, Monmouth University’s LGBT+ Older Adult Project created and disseminated an online survey to assess NJ LGBT+ adults’ responses during COVID-19. The survey data were collected at the end of June 2021 and initial analysis shows that the vast majority of participants obtained COVID-19 vaccinations.

Project History

This project developed out of the research interests of Dr. Bradley (School of Social Work) and Dr. Kelly (The Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies) in the area of aging. The question arose is aging the same for everyone? To determine the answer to that question, a needs assessment was done with providers and consumers during the academic year 2011-2012. From the information gained from that initial data, the research question was refined to investigate health disparities among older LGBT+ adults and address the issue of cultural competency with providers. All research was conducted with Dr. Bradley and Dr. Kelly as principal investigators but aided by student interns and student volunteers who assisted with literature searches as well as in conducting focus groups and individual interviews.

From 2012 through 2013, a training curriculum was developed to assist providers to be more aware of the needs of LGBT+ older adults and how to make their agencies more “gay friendly.” Beginning in the Fall of 2013 through the spring of 2015, free cultural competency trainings were provided to home health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes , assisted living facilities and sociology, psychology, human services and social work classes at Brookdale Community College, Stockton University, and Monmouth University. To date the project has conducted approximately 105 trainings with workshop sizes varying from 5 people to 35 people in attendance. The community and college trainings have been provided by MSW student interns assigned to the project. The faculty coordinators presented 4 peer reviewed workshops at regional, state and local conferences.

In the News

April 4, 2023 NJ: Governor Murphy signed executive order protecting gender-affirming health care in N.J.!

March 3, 2021 NJ: Governor Murphy signed the “LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights” legislation!