Dr. Alessi's research aims to increase understanding of stress, trauma, resilience among LGBTQ+ individuals, and improve policies, programs, and clinical practices that enhance their health and well-being. His research currently investigates how trauma and structural conditions during pre- and post-migration shape the integration, mental health, and sexual health of LGBTQ+ (im)migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. He has led studies in the United States, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. He has developed and tested an arts- and theatre-based group intervention for reducing HIV risk among migrants identifying as gay/bisexual men or transgender women. 

Most recently, his research has been funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). He is MPI on a R21 mixed method study that examines the social ecological and integration factors (immigration status, length of time in the U.S., language use, social connections, healthcare access and utilization) associated with HIV prevention behaviors among Latino/x sexual minority migrant men in the United States.

His emphasis on using qualitative methods for understanding how sociocultural and psychological processes shape the experiences of individuals with intersecting stigmas led to the development of trauma-informed research guidelines (TIRGs) for use in qualitative and mixed methods research. Published in Qualitative Research in Psychology, it is one of the first scholarly articles to provide in-depth discussion of how to conduct interview- and focus-group-research that protects the safety of participants and promotes their resilience.

His research has been published in journals such as, Ethnicity & Health, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Traumatic StressPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and PolicyPsychotherapy, Psychotherapy Research, Stress and Health, and Trauma, Violence & Abuse. He serves as Senior Consulting Editor for Psychology of Violence and on the editorial boards of Journal of Traumatic Stress and Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC).

Dr. Alessi has also been recognized for his teaching. He was awarded the Rutgers University Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2017. In addition, he received the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award four years in a row (2013-16). He has a decade of full-time practice experience as a clinical social worker in mental health settings.

Courses Taught

  • Theory Development (PhD)
  • Qualitative Methods (PhD)
  • Clinical Social Work I (MSW)
  • Sexual and Gender Diversity in Social Work (MSW)

Selected Recent Publications

Chaudhry, A., Abboud, S., Hanneke, R., Alessi, E. J., Mitchell, U., Molina, Y., Chelbi, P., & Hebert-Beirne, J. (2024). The health needs of sexual and gender minority migrant women to the United States: A scoping review. LGBT Health, 11, 1-19.

Alessi, E. J.,Lee, Y. G., Chikalogwe Pilirani, V.,Tarusarira, W.,Raymond,H., Lynn, M., & Kahn, S. (2023). Pilot study of an arts and theatre-based HIV prevention intervention for cisgender men who have sex with men and transgender women migrants in South Africa: Acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy. Health Education Research, 38, 392-411.

Cheung, S., Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., & Chikalogwe, V. P. (2023). ‘The sky is the limit. So I just hope, one day, I will reach my destiny:’ Hope, uncertainty, and disillusionment among LGBTQ+ migrants in South Africa. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 46, 2192-2219.

Alessi, E. J., & Kahn, S. (2023). Toward a trauma-informed qualitative research approach: Guidelines for ensuring the safety and promoting the resilience of research participants. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1, 121-154.

Alessi, E. J., Cheung, S., Sarna, V., Dentato, M. P., Eaton, A., & Craig, S. L. (2022). Experiences of COVID-19 pandemic-related stress among sexual and gender minority emerging adult migrants in the United States. Stress & Health, 39, 414-428. 

Alessi, E. J., Cheung, S., Dentato, M. P., Eaton, A., & Craig, S. L. (2022) A qualitative exploration of information and communication technology use among LGBTQ+ emerging adult migrants before and after arrival in the United States. Emerging Adulthood, 10, 978-992.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., Giwa, S., & Cheung, S. (2022). “Those tablets, they are finding an empty stomach:” A qualitative investigation of HIV risk among sexual and gender minority migrants in Cape Town, South Africa. Ethnicity & Health, 27, 800-816.

Alessi, E. J., Hutchison, C., & Kahn, S. (2022) Understanding COVID-19 through a complex trauma lens: Implications for effective psychosocial responses. Social Work, 67, 79-87.

Alessi, E. J., Cheung, S., Kahn, S., & Yu, M. (2021). A scoping review of the experiences of violence and abuse among sexual and gender minority migrants across the migration trajectory. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 22, 1339-1355.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., Ast, R., Cheung, S. P., Lee, E. O. J, & Kim, H. (2021). Learning from practitioners serving LGBTQ+ forced migrants and other diverse groups: Implications for a culturally-informed, affirmative practice. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Alessi, E. J., Greenfield, B., Manning, D., & Dank, M. (2021). Victimization and resilience among sexual and gender minority homeless youth engaging in survival sex. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36, 11236-11259.

Wieland, R. & Alessi, E. J. (2021). Do the challenges of LGBTQ asylum applicants under ‘Dublin’ register with the European Court of Human Rights?  Social & Legal Studies, 30, 405-425.

Giwa, S., Alessi, E. J., Carlson-Strain, M., & Mullings, D. V. (2021). Are we meeting the needs of racialized LGBTQ immigrants and refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador? Findings from a preliminary stakeholders’ consultation. International Journal of Social Welfare, 30, 342-352.

Alessi, E. J., Greenfield, B., Yu, M. Cheung, S., Giwa, S., & Kahn, S. (2021). Family, friendship, and strength among LGBTQ+ migrants in Cape Town, South Africa: A qualitative understanding. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 38, 1941-1960.

Alessi, E. J., Greenfield, B., Kahn, S., & Woolner, L. (2021). (Ir)reconcilable identities: Stories of religion and faith for sexual and gender minority refugees who fled from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia to the European Union. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 13, 175-183.

Greenfield, B., Alessi, E. J., Manning, D., Dato, C., & Dank, M. (2021). Learning to endure: A qualitative examination of the protective factors of homeless gender minority youth engaged in survival sex. International Journal of Transgender Health, 22, 316-329.

Babel, R. A., Wang, P., Alessi, E. J., Raymond, H. F., & Wei, C. (2021). Stigma, HIV risk, and access to HIV prevention and treatment services among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States: A scoping review. AIDS and Behavior, 25, 3574-3604.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., Greenfield, B., Woolner, L., & Manning, D. (2020). A qualitative exploration of the integration experiences of LGBTQ refugees who fled from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South Asia to Austria and the Netherlands. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 17, 13-26.

Alessi, E. J., Dillon, F. R., & Van Der Horn, R. (2019). The therapeutic relationship mediates the association between affirmative practice and psychological well-being among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer clients. Psychotherapy, 56, 229-240.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., Woolner, L., & Van Der Horn, R. (2018). Traumatic stress among sexual and gender minority refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia who fled to the European Union. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 805-815.

Kahn, S., Alessi, E. J., Kim, H., Olivieri, C., & Woolner, L. (2018). Facilitating mental health support for LGBT forced migrants in Canada: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Counseling & Development, 96, 316-326.

Kahn, S. & Alessi, E. J. (2018). Coming out under the gun: Exploring the psychological dimensions of seeking refugee status for LGBT claimants in Canada. Journal of Refugee Studies, 31, 22-41.

Alessi, E. J., & Kahn, S. (2017). A framework for clinical practice with sexual and gender minority asylum seekers. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 4, 383-391.

Kahn, S., Alessi, E., Kim, H., Olivieri, C., & Woolner, L.  (2017). Promoting the wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender forced migrants in Canada: Providers’ perspectives. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19, 1165-1179.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., & Van Der Horn, R. (2017). A qualitative exploration of the premigration adult victimization experiences of sexual and gender minority refugees and asylees in the United States and Canada. The Journal of Sex Research, 54, 936-948.

Alessi, E. J. (2016). Resilience in sexual and gender minority forced migrants: A qualitative analysis. Traumatology, 22, 203-213.

Alessi, E. J., Dillon, F. R., & Kim, H. M. (2016). Therapist correlates of attitudes toward sexual minority individuals, affirmative counseling self-efficacy, and beliefs about affirmative practice. Psychotherapy Research, 26, 446-458.

Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., & Chatterji, S. (2016). 'The darkest times of my life': Recollections of child abuse among forced migrants persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 93-105.

Alessi, E. J., Dillon, F. R., & Kim, H. M. (2015). Determinants of lesbian and gay affirmative practice among heterosexual therapists. Psychotherapy, 52, 298-307.

Alessi, E. J. (2014). A framework for incorporating minority stress theory into treatment with sexual minority clients. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 18, 47-66.

Alessi, E. J., Martin, J. I., Gyamerah, A., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Prejudice events and traumatic stress among heterosexuals and lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 22, 510-526.

Alessi, E. J., Meyer, I. H., & Martin, J. I. (2013). PTSD and sexual orientation: An examination of criterion A1 and non-Criterion A1 events. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy5, 149-157.