Professor and Director, Community Health Sciences
Jesus Ramirez-Valles is professor and head of community health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health. Much of his research is focused on how social status, race and sexual orientation impact health.
His studies of gay activism at the start of the HIV/AIDS crisis led to his first book, “Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS” (University of Illinois Press, 2011). The book examines how gay Latino activists addressed the racism and homophobia they faced during the height of the epidemic.
Ramirez-Valles’ second book focuses on the unique challenges of aging for gay men. He coined the term ‘gayby boomers’ in “Queer Aging: The Gayby Boomers and a New Frontier for Gerontology” (Oxford Press, 2016), to describe the generation that came of age during the HIV/AIDS crisis and the gay civil rights movement. In this groundbreaking book, Ramirez-Valles argues that aging gayby boomers don’t fit the largely heteronormative beliefs about aging or caring for older adults. The book explores the unique landscape of gay aging through scholarly research and interviews with 11 racially and economically diverse gay men who provide first-person narratives on their experiences with work, family, the AIDS epidemic, activism, their roles as caregivers, and growing older.
Ramirez-Valles is also the creator of a documentary, “Tal Como Somos/Just As We Are,” on the lives of Latino gay men, transgender persons and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Ramirez-Valles has been a fellow at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy, and served at the Council for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Health Promotion Practice. He has been named one of the “Top Gay Latino Activists Who Have Broken Boundaries” by the Huffington Post.
- Unique impact of aging on gay men
- Latino community activism and stigma around HIV/AIDS
- Health disparities and the GBT community