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The Montrose Research Institute’s Building Relationships to Investigate Diversity in Gender and sexual minority Experiences across the South (BRIDGES) is a collaboration between the Montrose Center and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.


To connect with sexual and gender minority individuals to understand the diverse needs of the community in order to develop research and design interventions to address those needs and disseminating research in ways that are accessible to audiences in both the LGBTQ+ Community and academia.

Coordinated by the executive director of the Montrose Center, Dr. Ann J. Robison, and two faculty members at UTHealth School of Public Health, Dr. Vanessa Schick and Dr. J. Michael Wilkerson, the collaboration strives to conduct research that is both informed by and helps to better inform the LGBTQ+ community.


  1. Connect with the LGBTQ+ Community by facilitating dialogue between varied researchers and organizations serving the community.
  2. Develop research and design interventions to enhance the health and wellness of gender and sexual minority individuals.
  3. Disseminate research findings to the community via the Montrose Center and other community and scientific outlets.


A RobisonAnn J. Robison, PhD has been the Executive Director of the Montrose Center since 1988. The center is a non-profit community center and behavioral health clinic primarily for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV infected and affected communities. A graduate of the School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston for her Doctorate of Philosophy in Management and Policy Science with a minor in medical ethics. A Behavioral Healthcare Administrator with 37 years of varied and increasingly responsible leadership positions in mental health, substance abuse treatment, HIV services, anti-violence services and health education. Dr. Robison has been involved in community planning and collation development in all of these areas. She is also seen as a community advocate and activist receiving the MacAdory Award for Professional Service from the AIDS Equity League in 1993, the Excellence in Medical Service from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault in 1991 and the Champion of Social Change from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault in 1987.
V SchickVanessa R. Schick, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health at UTHealth School of Public Health. Schick’s research centers on women’s health and focuses on sexual behavior between women and health disparities among non-monosexual (e.g., bisexual) women with a global interest in the advancement of the health and wellness of sexual and gender minorities. Since earning her doctorate in applied social psychology from The George Washington University, Schick has made many contributions to the field, including co-authoring nearly 70 peer-reviewed publications, and serving as a member of the team conducting research on the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). Schick is the 2011 recipient of The American Sexually Transmitted Disease Association Developmental Award and the 2013 Outstanding Young Professional Award from the Population, Reproductive and Sexual Health Section of the American Public Health Association. She also co-authored the trade book Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva. Before joining the School of Public Health, she was an assistant research scientist at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and is currently a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute.
M-WilkersonJ. Michael Wilkerson, PhD, MPH is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health. Dr. Wilkerson researches LGBTQ+ health disparities, including associations between psychosocial constructs and behaviors that place men who have sex with men at risk of HIV/STI infection. He is interested in the development of technology-based interventions. Dr. Wilkerson’s academic training includes a doctoral degree in adult, professional, and community education, a master’s degree in health education, and a master’s degree in epidemiology. In addition to his US-based research, Dr. Wilkerson is collaborating with colleagues in Mumbai, India and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His growing international portfolio affords him the opportunity to explore determinants of risk and the effectiveness of HIV interventions in East Africa, South-Central Asia, and North America. He has been working in community health education for nearly twenty years.

Current Projects

TELL Us Texas (Texans’ Experiences: LGBTQ+ Lives) is a collaborative effort to address the varied needs of the LGBTQ community. This confidential survey, developed by researchers at the Montrose Research Institute, is important because it will provide the information needed to better address the health needs of our diverse community.