Change Agent. Communicator. Coach. Bringing years of experience, humor, and research to facilitate collaboration and advance critical issues. What can we do together?

Jessica Halem Headshot

LGBTQ Outreach and Engagement Director, Harvard Medical School

Former Executive Director, Lesbian Community Cancer Project in Chicago // MBA from Simmons College // Trained at Second City // Led successful public affairs campaigns in New Orleans and New York City // Board of Directors, Tegan and Sara Foundation

"She is able to take a room full of people that are uninterested in participating and make them excited to collaborate and be a part of the discussion," Joyce Hong, Project Analyst, Brigham and Women's Hospital


Press Highlights

Short Bio


Jessica Halem, MBA, is the LGBTQ Outreach and Engagement Director at Harvard Medical School and remains unique in her role among medical schools in the United States. Under her leadership, the first-year class has grown from 4% to 15% self-identified LGBTQ and the faculty and resident OutList has quadrupled in size. Most recently, she secured a major grant to overhaul the entire curriculum to integrate sexual and gender minority health equity. Prior to joining Harvard, Jessica ran the Lesbian Community Cancer Project in Chicago where she implemented the nation’s first cultural competency trainings for the CDC, served on then-candidate Obama’s first LGBT Advisory Committee, and fought for the inclusion of transgender health on the national agenda since 2001. Jessica has published on treating transgender patients (AMA Journal of Ethics, 2016), optimism and organizational change (Medical Care, 2018), and mentoring across difference (Mentoring Diverse Leaders, Routledge, 2017). She coaches students, faculty, and administrators on dealing with difficult moments and is a sought-out speaker nationally on issues of workplace diversity and inclusion. She currently serves on the Board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and can be found on social media at @jessicahalem.

“Such a wonderful speaker, tackling sensitive topics such as gender and sexuality with disarming humor and empathy," Melissa Obleada, Employment Brand Specialist


Publications & Productions


"Having Jessica take the stage in support of our 45th anniversary event was truly a highlight of the evening. She's super smart, super hilarious, and 110% committed to making sure everyone in the room comes along for the fast-and-funny ride." Liz Owen, Director of Communications, PFLAG National

Recent Speaking & Training

  • Australian National University College of Health & Medicine Dean’s Lecture Series: Medical Moonshots “Prejudice Vanquished: Championing Inclusive and Respectful Workplaces,” Canberra, Australia

  • Grand Rounds at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN: “Caring for the Continuum: Creating a Foundation of Understanding for LGBTQ+ Patients and their Families”

  • Harvard Medical School Talks@12: “LGBTQ&A: Building a Foundation for Understanding and Care

  • CVS Health Celebrates Pride Month, Woonsocket, RI: “LGBTQ History, Healthcare,and Inclusion”

  • Community Builders, Boston, MA: CEO Fireside Chat

  • Harvard Hears You: 2019 Summit for Gender Equity

  • The Fenn School, Concord, MA: Multicultural Educators’ Forum 2019

  • Stanford Medicine Pfeiffer Visiting Scholar: "Transforming Medicine: One Difficult Moment at a Time"

  • City of Hope, LGBT State of the Science and Caring, Pasadena, CA: “Inclusion and Health Equity”

  • LGBT Health Workforce Conference, NYC: "Hands-on Practice Handling Difficult Moments around LGBT Issues with Colleagues, Patients"

  • Emceed PFLAG’s 45th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C.

  • Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium, Chicago: “Honor the Dead and Fight for the Living”

  • Webinar for Workforce Magazine "Creating LGBT Inclusive Workplaces"

  • Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital, Neurology Department

  • Boston Children's Hospital, Pride Celebration

  • Brigham and Women's Hospital Research Assistants "Improv Skills for Leadership Development"

  • Dunkin' Brands HQ "Everyday LGBTQ Inclusion at Work"

  • HubSpot "LGBT Inclusive Workplaces"

  • Governor's Academy, Newbury, MA: "Creating LGBT Inclusive High School Communities"

  • Workforce Live "Creating LGBT Inclusive Workplaces"

"Having Jessica Halem speak at Dunkin' about LGBTQ inclusion is probably our best investment in diversity yet," Anne Fajon, Corporate Social Responsibility