Research of Bean Robinson

headshotBeatrice “Bean” Robinson, PhD, joined the faculty of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in 1991 as both a clinician and researcher.

As the Clinical Director at Program in Human Sexuality (PHS), Dr. Robinson specializes in working with sexual dysfunction and health. Her research has focused on improving the sexual health of ethnic and sexual minority populations, including Somali-American, African American, and Hmong individuals, as well as those living with HIV or in the GLBTQ community.

In the 1990s, Dr. Robinson was part of a team that developed a series of sexual health and HIV prevention  interventions for black women and men, men who have sex with men, bisexual and lesbian women, and trans-identified individuals. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, the interventions utilized mixed gender small-group discussion, sexually-explicit videos, and lectures to support participant exploration of sexual attitudes and values, integrated into HIV-prevention.

The Sexual Health Model, composed of 10 key components posited to be essential aspects of healthy human sexuality, was developed by Dr. Robinson and her colleagues, and formed the basis of these sexual health interventions. The model has been widely cited and has formed the basis of interventions with multiple at-risk populations.

Dr. Robinson's research has focused on improving the sexual health of ethnic and sexual minority populations, including Somali-American, African American, and Hmong individuals, as well as those living with HIV or in the GLBTQ community.

Currently, Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on sexual health among Somali-American women. In 2018, she received a five-year National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) grant to examine sexual pain in Somali-American women who were circumcised. Utilizing qualitative interviews and audio computer-assisted self interviews and surveys and partnering with local community groups and medical clinics serving the Somali-American community, the study focuses on the impact of deinfibulation and reinfibulation on pain, as well as cultural factors that contribute to models of pain endurance and resilience. A partnership approach addresses the research questions collaboratively with community members and researchers.

Dr. Robinson also has a background and interest in other stigmatized populations, and developed the Fat Phobia Scale to assess prejudices about fat people. This scale, which was revised from 50 to 14 items in 2001, is currently used across the globe.

See Dr. Robinson's full bio