Conference will raise awareness of suicide in LGBTQ community

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host a conference to raise awareness about the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community and suicide risk and prevention on Saturday, March 10. 

The “Stronger Communities: LGBTQ + Suicide Prevention Conference” will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Donaghey Student Center Ledbetter Hall.

The conference includes plenary and breakout sessions that feature national experts on LGBTQ+ mental health and suicide risk and will be focused on making mental health, suicide prevention, and education an LGBTQ community priority.

The featured speaker is Kimberly Shappley, a registered nurse, international board-certified lactation consultant, ordained minister, and mother of a transgender daughter who has turned Shappley into an accidental advocate.

Her family’s story has appeared on The TODAY Show, Vice HBO, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, and several national women’s magazines.

Working with Equality Texas as their faith outreach coordinator, Kimberly is a nationally recognized sought-after speaker as a southern conservative Christian parent of a transgender child.

Additional presenters include:

  •      Dr. John Blosnich, “Questions of Life and Death: Seeking answers about suicide deaths among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” Blosnich is an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, a research assistant professor with the West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center, and a research health scientist with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

  •      Dr. Stephen Russell, “Understanding and Preventing Suicide in LGBT+ Communities.” He is the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. He studies adolescent development with an emphasis on adolescent sexuality, LGBT youth, and parent-adolescent relationships.

  •      Dr. Jody Herman, “Suicide Risk and Prevention Among Transgender People.” She is a scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Her work has included research on the fiscal impacts of discrimination against transgender people, employer-provided health benefits coverage for gender transition, the development of trans-inclusive questions for population-based surveys, and suicide among transgender people.

The conference is open to members of the public. The cost to attend is $20 for students and $50 for general admission.

For more information, contact Tabitha Childers at 870-834-6777 or

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