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Heather Tillewein

Heather Tillewein

Assistant Professor

Health & Human Performance


Master Certified Education Specialist, 2023

Certified Health Education Specialist, 2019

Doctorate in Health Education, Southern Illinois University, 2019

Masters of Public Health, University of Missouri, 2014

Bachelors in Health Science, University of Missouri, 2012

Dr. Tillewein is on the Executive Committee, Policy Committee, and serves as Communication's Chair for the LGBTQ Health Caucus for the American Public Health Association. She also serves as Director for Special Editions and Associate Editor for the HPHR Journal (formerly known as the Harvard Public Health Review). Dr. Tillewein is active as Director of Membership for the Boston Congress of Public Health. Also, she has held a Harvard Fellowship with the H.T. Chan School of Public Health where she wrote blogs for the Harvard Public Health Review. She is involved with several projects with the SIU School of Medicine under the RuralHarmony Project. Dr. Tillewein also actively researches with the Kinsey Institute on several projects. Recently, Dr. Tillewein is also project leader for the NIH/NIDA grant, Ending Transmission of HIV, HCV, and STDs and Overdose in Rural Communities of People who Inject Drugs (ETHIC)

Sexuality, sexual health, gender minority, LGBTQIA+ health, sexual health, reproductive health, and women's health.

  • Richardson, P.*, Tillewein, H., Antonangelo, J., & Frederick, D. (2024). The impact of environmental health from cemetery waste in Middle Tennessee. International Journal of Environmental Health Research and Public Health, 21(3):267. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21030267

  • Lee, M., Tsai, M., Tillewein, H., & Luckey, G.S. (2024). Rural disparities in telemedicine use among U.S. adults with cancer. Telemedicine and e-Health. https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2023.0572

  • Tillewein. H. & Cox, D.* (2024). Investigating the Implications of Sexual Assaults with Ride-Sharing:  A Call for Research. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605241237170

  • Tillewein, Heather; Chen, Norah*; Choi, Hana*; Kraemer, Margaux*; and Siddiqui, Laeek A.*, "Neurological Disability Perspectives on Sexuality through Social Media Platforms" (2023). Summer Sexuality Fellowship. 1. https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/summer-sexuality-fellowship/1

  • Tillewein, Heather; Franklyn, Grace*; Frederick, Valerie*; Ghasseminia, Raheleh*; Michels, Cameron*; and Stevens, Emily*, "Investigating the Intersection of Physical Disability and Sexuality" (2023). Summer Sexuality Fellowship. 1. https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/summer-sexuality-fellowship/1

  • Tillewein, H., Becker, J., & Kruse-Diehr, A., (2023). Institutional barriers to healthcare services among transgender individuals in the rural Midwest. Journal of Homosexuality. Online. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2023.2222204 

  • Tillewein, H. (2023). Book Review. Chen, A.: ACE: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Sexuality and Culture. Online. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-023-10103-0 

  • McDaniel, J.T., Tillewein, H., Wallace, J.P., Albright, D.L., & Henson, H. (2023). The need for rural-urban county type in CDC’s social vulnerability index concerning human immunodeficiency reporting data. Traumatology.  Advance online publication. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/trm0000459 

  • Tillewein, H. & Kruse-Diehr, A. (2023). The Impact of Conversion Therapy on Transgender Individuals. Psychology & Sexuality, 1-13 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2023.2188485 

  • Tillewein, H. (2023). Book Review: Savin-Williams, R.C., Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth. Sexuality & Culture. Online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12119-023-10070-6

  • Tillewein, H., *Shokeen, N., *Powers, P., *Rijo Sanchez, A., *Sandles- Palemer, S., & Desjarlais, K. (2023) Silencing the Rainbow: Prevalence of LGBTQ+ Students Who Do Not Report Sexual Violence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(3), online.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032020

  • Tillewein, H., Brashear, B., & Harvey, P. (2022). The link between centrality, gender identity, and sexual pleasure. Sexologies, e4-e6.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sexol.2022.09.005 

  • Tillewein H, Toufik A, Awuah W, Zuñiga Y, Shellah D, Colescu A, Carpenter C, Le Compte C (2022). Legislating the new Gilead: implications of the Texas Heartbeat Act. HPHR, 56(1), online. 10.54111/0001/DDD2

  • Tillewein, H. (2022, April 6). [Review of the book Camming: Money, power, and pleasure in the sex work industry, by A. Jones]. World Medical & Health Policy, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wmh3.512 

  • Aborode, A.T., Awuah, W. A., Mehta, A., Abdul-Rahman, T., Nansubuga, E. P., Kundu, M., Pustake, M., Mehmood, Q., & Tillewein, H. (2022, April 5). Concern over Nipah Virus Cases Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic in India. Journal of Medical Virology, Letter to the Editor. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmv.27745 

  • Tillewein, H & Ma, N. (2022, February). Implications on Female Same Sex Couples and HIV. HPHR, 2022; 66. https://hphr.org/66-article-ma/ 

  • Aborode, A., Awuah, W., Talukder, S., Oyeyemi, A., Nansubuga, E., Machai, P., & Tillewein, H. (2021, September 9). Fake Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 0, 1-2. https://pmj.bmj.com/content/98/1159/317 

  • Tillewein, H. & Kruse-Diehr, A. (2021). A multiple case study on drag culture and substance use. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Service, 33(2), 211-224. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10538720.2021.1875347 

  • Tillewein, H. & Kruse-Diehr, A. (2019). A multiple case study of student sex workers. Health Education Monograph Series. Eta Sigma Gamma. 36 (1), 36-40.

  • Abrams, T. E., Ratnapradipa, D., Tillewein, H., & Lloyd, A. A. (2018, July 10). Resiliency in burn recovery: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Social Work in Health Care, 57(9), 774-793. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00981389.2018.1503213 

Title: National Healthcare Safety Network Data Validation (RFA-34349-04023; $375,000)
Role: Principal Investigator; with the TN Department of Health HAI/ AR program.
Goal: To collect data from local medical facilities to measure data validity from the facilities. There will be three undergraduate public health students and three graduate public health students on the project. These students will be trained on data validation by the CDC and collect data from local medical facilities. Then the students will validate the data collected.


NIH/NIDA (8/1/21-7/31/23; UH3DA044829-S105; $169,755; mPI Mai Pho and Wiley D. Jenkins)
Title: [supplement to] Ending Transmission of HIV, HCV, and STDs and Overdose in Rural Communities of People who Inject Drugs (ETHIC)
Role: Project Leader – Transgender Engagement and Recruitment
Goal: The goal of this supplement is to engage with community partners to explore and pilot methods of harm reduction engagement specific to minority race and LGBTQ+ individuals. Such individuals may experience increased risk of HIV/other infectious disease and require different means of harm reduction provision and engagement. I am responsible for leading development of the method(s) to engage transgender individuals in harm reduction.


Title: The Environmental Health Impact of Cemetery Waste ($1,975; Student Research Grant)
Role: Faculty Supervisor; I am currently collaborating with a Bachelor of Public Health student and the Assistant Professor in Soil Chemistry.
Goal: This project seeks to gather information about the levels of formaldehyde and arsenic in the soil at burial sites based on different eras and near bodies of water. The study will gather three soil samples from different plots and analyze the prevalence of formaldehyde and arsenic. Research about the concentrations of formaldehyde and arsenic in the soil of burial sites can better help Public Health officials understand and prevent potential hazard caused by consumption of this chemical.