Doctor George Turner

Doctor George Turner

Lecturer in Social Work,
Social Work & Community Welfare


Dr. George Turner’s research is focused on reducing health disparities by advancing sexual health equity in areas such as sexual justice, LGBTQIA2S issues, disability, and sexuality education. As a social worker, George has a demonstrated clinical expertise as a psychotherapist with over fifteen years in private practice specializing in sex therapy.

Dr. Turner is a disability and sexuality scholar who values interdisciplinary collaboration including partnering with local communities in participatory research. His research is focused on reducing health disparities by advancing sexual health equity, framed by an interest in how systems of privilege impact the intersection of race, class, ability, gender, and sexual orientation within sexual health. Through an exploration of voice, his goal is to use storytelling to illuminate the lived experiences of disenfranchised groups and expose meaning where little or none existed. Dr. Turner uses mixed methods approaches to investigate cross-cultural understandings, practice implications, and policy development regarding sexual well-being and sexual justice. As a scientist-practitioner, George’s work is organized around 3 areas of inquiry:

1) how the interplay of privilege and oppression connect to the health and wellbeing of marginalized communities: specifically, LGBTQ identified, and disabled individuals;

2) how intersectional identities are related to experiences of discrimination; and

3) experiences of sexuality and sexual health from a strengths-based, sex positive, queer affirming, medically accurate, shame-free, feminist perspective. 

As a educator, Dr. Turner employs experiential learning to maximize student development. George mentors learners to become helping professionals who are skilled advocates, practitioner and researchers for disenfranchised communities. Teaching must be grounded in a competency based curriculum that produces measurable outcomes and should be a mutually enriching journey that is respectful, affirming, challenging and interactive. George is a first-in-family/ first generation college student, thus he strives to honor students' unique perspective and provide a learning environment that values a student’s voice. More importantly, Dr. Turner aims to facilitate an atmosphere which recognizes divergent learning styles and provides opportunities to promote student success.

Prior to coming to WSU, Dr. Turner was an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare (2013-16), and a visiting lecturer at Washburn University (2012-13) in the social work department. George has taught both undergraduate and graduate units including: Human Sexuality, Practice, Multicultural Practice, Psychopathology, Sexual Trauma, and Psychopathology. A certified sex therapist (AASECT), Dr. Turner operated a thriving private practice in Kansas City, MO. USA for fifteen years specializing in sexual health, personal wellness, and relationship enhancement. This and his background in non-profit administration inform his teaching best practices in direct clinical services. Dr. Turner routinely provided sexuality consultations to Kansas City hospitals including: Children’s Mercy, St. Luke’s, and KU Med speaking to their psychiatry, OBGYN and urology departments on topics such as intersexuality, female sexual pain, and taking a sexual history. Additionally, George was a frequent speaker at non-profits such as PFLAG, the MS Society, KU Cancer Center, as well as graduate psychology and counselling programs.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Turner.


  • PhD Widener University
  • MEd Widener University
  • MSocWk University of Kansas

Professional Memberships

  • American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) (2018)


  • Pat B. Koch Award for Research Publication in Sexuality, Widener University 2015-09-01
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, Center for Education, Widener University 2012-09-01


  • Sexual Health and Wellbeing
  • Disability Issues
  • Sexuality

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Social Work & Community Welfare


Location: EJD.G.56

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 101664 Working with Cultural Differences, 2018
  • 101664 Working with Cultural Differences, 2019
  • 102351 Practice skills for social work, 2019
  • 400513 Social Work and Health, 2019


Chapters in Books

  • Turner, G. (2020), 'The circles of sexuality : promoting a strengths-based model within social work that provides a holistic framework for client sexual well-being', Rooted in Strengths: Celebrating the Strengths Perspective in Social Work, University of Kansas Libraries 9781936153152.
  • Turner, G., Pelts, M. and Thompson, M. (2018), 'Breaking taboos : the power of group work for first-generation scholars', Group Work Stories Celebrating Diversity, Routledge 9781138302419.

Journal Articles

  • Turner, G., Derusha, K., Meyers, L., Snyder, B., Gray, A., Asby, M. and Durham, J. (2021), 'A psychotherapy private practice social work practicum : expanding our boundaries of field education placement', Social Work, vol 66, no 1 , pp 59 - 69.
  • Paceley, M., Thomas, M. and Turner, G. (2019), 'Factors limiting SGM youths' involvement in nonmetropolitan SGM community organizations', Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, vol 31, no 1 , pp 1 - 18.
  • Turner, G., Pelts, M. and Thompson, M. (2018), 'Between the academy and queerness : microaggressions in social work education', Affilia, vol 33, no 1 , pp 98 - 111.
  • Turner, G., Vernacchio, A. and Satterly, B. (2018), 'Sexual justice is social justice : an activity to expand social work students understanding of sexual rights and injustices', Journal of Teaching in Social Work, vol 38, no 5 , pp 504 - 521.
  • Kattari, S. and Turner, G. (2017), 'Examining more inclusive approaches to social work, physical disability, and sexuality', Journal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation, vol 16, no 1 , pp 38 - 53.
  • Turner, G., Pelts, M. and Thompson, M. (2017), 'Breaking taboos : the power of group work for first-generation scholars', Social Work with Groups, vol 40, no 1-2 , pp 168 - 173.
  • Turner, G. and Crane, B. (2016), 'Teaching and learning qualitative methods through the dissertation advising relationship : perspectives from a professor and a graduate', Qualitative Social Work, vol 15, no 3 , pp 346 - 362.
  • Turner, G. and Crane, B. (2016), 'Sexually silenced no more, adults with learning disabilities speak up : a call to action for social work to frame sexual voice as a social justice issue', British Journal of Social Work, vol 46, no 8 , pp 2300 - 2317.
  • Turner, G. and Crane, B. (2016), 'Pleasure is paramount : adults with intellectual disabilities discuss sensuality and intimacy', Sexualities, vol 19, no 5-6 , pp 677 - 697.
  • Turner, G. (2015), 'A coming out narrative : discovering my queer voice, my social worker superpower', Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, vol 21, no 4 , pp 40 - 50.

Conference Papers

  • Turner, G. (2019), 'A private practice field education site : illuminating a unique social work practicum placement through auto ethnography', Society for Social Work and Research. Annual Conference, San Francisco, Calif..
  • Turner, G. and Pelts, M. (2019), 'The power of sexuality reflection in the classroom : results of a case study', American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pa..
  • Turner, G. (2018), 'Sexual justice : an activity to expand students' understanding of social justice', Council on Social Work Education. Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, Fla..
  • Turner, G. and Meyers, L. (2018), 'Using auto-ethnography to illuminate a sexual health private practice practicum site', Council on Social Work Education. Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, Fla..
  • Turner, G., Pelts, M., Meyers, L. and Chaya, J. (2018), 'Sexually literate social workers : a review of a staple of social work professional training, continuing education, indicates a lack of basic training on human sexuality', Society for Social Work and Research. Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., Wash..
  • Pelts, M., Turner, G. and Thompson, M. (2017), 'Between the acaderny and queerness : microaggressions in social work education', Council on Social Work Education. Annual Program Meeting, Dallas, Tex..
  • Turner, G., Pelts, M., Thompson, M. and Meyers, L. (2017), 'The practical application of sexual literacy to social work', Society for Social Work and Research. Annual Conference, New Orleans, La..
  • Stiritz, S., Turner, G. and Pillai-Friedman, S. (2014), 'Teaching sexuality to social work students : sixty years in a contact zone', Council on Social Work Education. Annual Program Meeting, Tampa, Fla..
  • Turner, G. (2013), 'Straight from the heart : adults with intellectual disabilities give voice to a poverty of sex education', World Association for Sexual Health. Congress, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

2019 -present          Principal Investigator -     Relax, its only sex therapy: How do social workers certified in sex therapy describe their work

2016- present          Principal Investigator -     They were the best of times: Undergraduates reflect on a teaching activity and their sexual experiences 

ORCID #0000-0003-2314-1239

This information has been contributed by Doctor Turner.


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Breaking the Limits: Deconstructing the Experience of Physical ?Disability? from the Perspective of Young Adults
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Sexual education and experiences of violence: exploring the lives of women with physical disability
Field of Research:


Title: Episode 13 ??? Sexual Justice as Social Justice with Dr George Turner
Description: George Turner sits down with Ben Joseph, a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University and the producer for the podcast, Social Work Discoveries. On Episode 13, Sexual Justice is Social Justice, Dr George Turner discusses the intersections of social work and sexual health/ well-being. George frames much of his work through a

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