Laura Hein, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Laura Hein is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Hein’s program of research focuses on the interaction of sexual orientation/gender identity, homeless status, resilience, empowerment and experiences of violence and victimization. She has sought to investigate LGBT health disparities within a social justice and public policy paradigm. She is familiar with the LGBT community not only through her research, but through internships as a doctoral student and work as a post-doctoral fellow [intern LGBT Community Center, Nashville, TN; research intern Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, Illinois – an LGBT Health/Research institution]. Dr. Hein has been honored with the Diversity Award, by the International Society of Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurses for leadership on LGBT health issues. She also received the Palmetto Gold Award from the South Carolina Nurses Foundation, for excellence in nursing. Laura is an expert on LGBT health disparities, and serves as the only nurse on the Board of Directors of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
Alex Karydi, PhD, LMFT-I, CSAC, CAC
Alex Karydi, Ph.D., LMFT-I, CSAC, CAC, is an internationally certified drug and alcohol counselor that has been trained in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) related issues. Alex is employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice as an evaluating psychologist, but also has been designated as the DJJ LGBT youth coordinator. She works with advocates and regional LGBT youth agencies to ensure representation of LGBTQIA youth within these community groups. Alex is a member of the SC HIV Council, the South Carolina State Alliance for Adolescent Sexual Health, and a committee member on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Against Intimate Partner Violence Task Force. Alex’s ultimate intention is to start a movement towards a healthier and more supportive community – where LGBT can find each other, learn from one another, and build a stronger support system.
SAGE and Family Pride Coordinator
Jennifer is the Director of Operations of SC Equality and has been a LGBT activist for over 25 years. She is married to Troy Tague and has 3 children. She attended Columbia High School and Midlands Technical College where she studied Criminal Justice. Jennifer has been involved with SC Pride since it began with the first Pride March in 1989. She has worked closely with several LGBT organizations, including volunteering with PALSS and the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center. Her most recent interest has been with helping the aging LGBT community establish an advocacy group for seniors called SAGE (Service Advocacy for GLBT Seniors).