Jonas Scholar presents at STTI Congress in Cape Town

In July, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing held its 27th International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. This Congress brings together more than 700 nurse researchers, students, clinicians and leaders to learn from evidence-based research presentations and identify opportunities for collaboration among the international nursing community.

Among the attendees was Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar Billy A. Caceres, who is currently a PhD candidate at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. At the Congress, Billy participated in the panel for LGBTQ: Leadership and Health Promotion where he discussed his research for “An Integrated Review of Cardiovascular Disease in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults.” We recently connected with Billy to learn about his experience:

Tell us about your experience at the STTI International Nursing Congress. What were your key learnings and notable sessions from your time there? 

During my time at the STTI Congress I enjoyed meeting nurses from around the world who are conducting research to improve the health of their communities. I very much enjoyed a session focused on the work that STTI is doing globally to promote relationships with global entities including the United Nations. My favorite research symposia focused on recognizing the important influence of cultural context on cardiovascular disease disparities. This work tied in nicely with my research interests and gave me several ideas of how to frame my own research.

During the Nursing Congress, you presented on your research for “An Integrated Review of Cardiovascular Disease in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults.” What were some key learnings from your panel? Anything you learned during your Q&A? 

During the Q&A session, one individual asked if there was anything known about the impact of social support on reducing modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease in this population. There is very little in the literature about this but it a topic that merits further attention. The Q&A session highlighted the nascent status of this area of research as not much is known about cardiovascular disease in LGBTQ adults.

Have healthcare issues among the LGBTQ community become more global? Is there an opportunity to bring research like yours into a more global perspective?

LGBTQ rights worldwide are at such different stages depending on the region of the world you examine. As reflected in my review studies on cardiovascular disease in this population have only been conducted in the United States, Canada, and Switzerland. This is despite evidence of excess cardiac risk in LGBTQ individuals. Actual or perceived LGBTQ identity remains highly stigmatized and it is criminalized in many parts of the world. This limits the ability to understand the experience of this population globally but as more research highlighting LGBTQ health disparities emerges there is greater interest and recognition about the importance of addressing these disparities. Nurses have in the past lagged behind other health professionals in recognizing LGBTQ health disparities. Therefore, I was honored to be part of a panel with two other nurses that also presented their important contributions to this area.

How has being a Jonas Scholar assisted your research or access to opportunities like these?  

The support of the Jonas Center has been invaluable. Through my work as a Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and also a Jonas Policy Scholar at the American Academy of Nursing I have gained mentors in the fields of aging and health disparities. These individuals have not only influenced my research but also advanced my career by incorporating LGBTQ health into different initiatives I have worked on which has helped further my expertise on this topic. I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me because of my work as a Jonas Scholar and hope to continue representing the Jonas Center as a nurse researcher and leader in this field for years to come.

Billy A. Caceres is a PhD Candidate at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing where he is a Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar and Scholar of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. Billy’s dissertation focuses on modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease in lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. He is currently a TL1 Pre-doctoral Scholar (UL1 TR000038) at the NYU-HHC Clinical and Translational Science Institute and a Johnson & Johnson/AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholar. Billy is also actively involved in several organizations including the American Heart Association, NYS Nursing Action Coalition, AcademyHealth, and Sigma Theta Tau International.