HER: Tonia Poteat

Health Equity Reimagined

Solutions in Action: Spotlight

Duke Professor Provides Compassionate Care for LGBTQ Patients

Tonia Poteat
Tonia Poteat Professor

Known as a compassionate provider, prolific scholar, inspiring speaker and dedicated educator and mentor, Tonia Poteat is passionate about serving the LGBTQ community. As a professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, her research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on HIV and the stigma that drives LGBTQ disparities in health and well-being, especially for the transgender community.

“Unfortunately, health inequities have persisted and, in some cases, increased over time in the U.S.,” said Poteat, who also serves as co-director of the Duke Sexual and Gender Minority Wellness Program. “In my work, I try to address the health inequities by identifying and implementing health promoting interventions in partnership with affected communities.”

Poteat is excited to launch a new study at Duke called “CARES: Creating Access to Resources and Economic Support.” Her research will test the ability of economic interventions to improve the mental health of transgender adults who experience material hardship.

She is conducting the study in partnership with a national transgender-led organization, which will use the findings to guide its programming.

“In addition to continuing and expanding my program of research, I look forward to mentoring nursing students by providing opportunities for them to engage with health equity research projects and build their skills in leading their own equity-focused projects.”

Tonia Poteat


Using her expertise in HIV research and care for transgender people, Poteat serves as associate editor for the journal LGBT Health and on the Department of Health and Human Services Adolescent and Adult HIV Treatment Guidelines panel. She founded and co-leads the Inter-CFAR Transgender Health Scientific Working Group.

To help nurses care for transgender and gender diverse patients, Poteat regularly conducts training to enhance their clinical and cultural knowledge. She is also certified as an HIV specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine and gender specialist by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

“Nurses are so well positioned to make broad and substantial changes to address the social drivers of health inequities, so I look forward to nurturing more programs to give them added tools for success,” said Poteat.

Professor Tonia Poteat, PhD, MPH, PA-C, AAHIVS, DFAAPA, has spent more than two decades caring for LGBTQ patients, with a special focus on the transgender community’s health.

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