Robert W.S. Coulter, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Robert W.S. Coulter's mission is to eliminate substance use and violence inequities for sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY; e.g., adolescents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer [LGBTQ+]).

To accomplish this mission, his research focuses on: (1) examining the complex social mechanisms producing SGMY health inequities; and (2) designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions aimed at reducing violence and substance use inequities for SGMY. His studies use multiple methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative, human-centered design, systems science, and stakeholder-engaged research.

His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Addiction, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Adolescent Health, Pediatrics, and Prevention Science, and these results were subsequently highlighted in various media outlets, including Huffington Post, NPR, and Reuters.

Education & Training

  • BS, Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude, Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences, 2008
  • MPH, Social and Behavioral Schemes, Boston University School of Public Health, 2012
  • PhD, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, 2017

Selected Publications

Friedman MR, Coulter RWS, Silvestre AJ, Stall R, Teplin L, Surkan PJ, Shoptaw S, Plankey MW. Someone to count on: Social support as an effect modifier of viral load suppression in a prospective cohort study. AIDS Care. 2017;29(4):469-480. PMID: 27456040. PMCID: PMC5571899.

Gulov K, Coulter RWS, Matthews DD, Uzzi M, Stall R. HIV and STIs among MSM in Tajikistan: Laboratory-confirmed diagnoses and self-reported testing behaviors. AIDS Behav. 2016;20(S3):341-349. PMID: 27307182. PMCID: PMC5114153.

Coulter RWS, Birkett M, Corliss HL, Hatzenbuehler ML, Mustanski B, Stall RD. Associations between LGBTQ-affirmative school climate and adolescent drinking behaviors. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016;161:340-347. PMID: 26946989. PMCID: PMC4792759.

Coulter RWS, Marzell M, Saltz R, Stall R, Mair C. Sexual-orientation differences in drinking patterns and use of drinking contexts among college students. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016;160:197-204. PMID: 26827292. PMCID: PMC4767549.

Coulter RWS, Herrick AL, Friedman MR, Stall R. Sexual-orientation differences in positive youth development: The mediational role of bullying victimization. Am J Public Health. 2016;106(4):691-697. PMID: 26794177. PMCID: PMC4986057.

Matthews DD, Herrick AL, Coulter RWS, Friedman MR, Mills TC, Eaton LA, Wilson PA, Stall RD, POWER Study Team. Running backwards: Consequences of current HIV incidence rates for the next generation of black MSM in the United States. AIDS Behav. 2016;20(1):7-16. PMID: 26267251. PMCID: PMC4718884.

Coulter RWS, Blosnich JR, **Bukowski LA, Herrick AL, Siconolfi DE, Stall RD. Differences in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems between transgender- and nontransgender-identified young adults. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;154:251-259. PMID: 26210734. PMCID: PMC4536098.

Coulter RWS, Kinsky SM, Herrick AL, Stall RD, Bauermeister JA. Evidence of syndemics and sexuality-related discrimination among young sexual-minority women. LGBT Health. 2015;2(3):250-257. PMID: 26788674. PMCID: PMC4712488.

Herrick AL, Egan JE, Coulter RWS, Friedman MR, Stall R. Raising sexual minority youths' health levels by incorporating resiliencies into health promotion efforts. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(2):206-210. PMID: 24328652. PMCID: PMC3935686.

Coulter RWS, Kenst KS, Bowen DB, Scout. Research funded by the National Institutes of Health on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(2):e105-112. PMID: 24328665. PMCID: PMC3935708.

Kessel Schneider S, O’Donnell L, Stueve A, Coulter RWS. Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(1):171-177. PMID: 22095343. PMCID: PMC3490574.

Research Grants

Pilot Study Principal Investigator, Interventions to Reduce Adolescent Relationship Abuse among Sexual Minority Youth. Funder: University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s (CTSI’s) Research Initiative for Special Populations (CRISP) Pilot Program, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Grant number: UL1TR001857 (PI: Reis), 2020-2021.

Principal Investigator, Developing and Piloting a School Staff-Based Intervention to Reduce Alcohol and Drug Use Among Sexual Minority Youth. Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Awardee: University of Pittsburgh. Grant number: K01AA027564 (PI: Coulter), 2019-2024.

Co-Investigator, Text message intervention for alcohol use and sexual violence in college students: Supplement for sexual and gender minority college students. Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Awardee: Pennsylvania State University. Grant number: K23AA027288-02S1 (PI: Anderson), 2019-2020.

Co-Investigator and Statistician, Evaluation of a College Mental Health Course Curriculum. Funder: Citrone 33 Foundation. Awardee: University of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation (PI: Chugani), 2019-2020.

Other Significant Contributor, Preventing Suicide in Homeless Youth. Funder: University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Awardee: University of Pittsburgh (PI: Chugani), 2019-2020.

Principal Investigator, Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender Youth. Funder: THRIVE of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Awardee: Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation (MPIs: Coulter & Henderson), 2018-2020.