Laura M. Houghtaling

Picture of Laura M. Houghtaling
Alumni MPC Population Health Predoctoral Trainee
Epidemiology & Community Health
Research Interests

1. Health Disparities

2. Behavioral and biological pathways of chronic stress in marginalized populations

3. Social and policy climates, family relationships and social support networks

4. Intersection of gender identity, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity.


I am a third-year PhD student in the Social and Behavioral Epidemiology program. I received my MPH in Epidemiology from the University of MN in 2015 and my BA in German Language & Literature in 2005 from Colgate University. My research interests are race-based and sexual orientation and gender identity-based health disparities and the health effects of chronic stress across the life course. I joined the MPC in an official capacity in 2021 as a Population Health Studies Predoctoral Trainee.

My research interests are how differential exposure to chronic stress due to discrimination and/or poverty affects the incidence of cancers, recovery, and recurrence, as well as mental health and cardiovascular health. I am specifically interested in gathering data on sexual minority populations, where data is scarce, as well as the intersection of gender identity, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity.


Risk of Social Isolation among adults aged 65 years and over, by State and County, American Community Survey 2012-2016. Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit - Community Indicators in Action 2018. Minneapolis, MN.

Disparities in Frequent Mental Distress by Sexual Orientation. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Training Workshop 2018. Atlanta, GA. 

Variation in Rate of Change in Smoking and Obesity Prevalence by State. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting 2017. Atlanta, GA.

Geographic Distribution of Frequent Mental Distress and Frequent Physical Distress across the United States. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting 2016. Denver, CO.

Measuring Senior Wellbeing panelist. Everybody Counts webinar series. Offered by the Community Indicators Consortium. January 2020.