Dr. Lori Ross is a Senior Scientist in the Health Systems and Health Equity Research department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. She is the leader of the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health Team at CAMH. Lori is also Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.
Lori uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches in her research work, with a strong focus on integrating the principles of community-based research. Much of her research focuses on understanding the mental health and service needs of marginalized populations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people, in order to improve access to services for these communities.
Lori’s most important job is being a Mom to her 6-year-old daughter. Back when she used to have free time, she enjoyed gardening and reading Canadian fiction. She feels immensely privileged to get paid to do work that she loves, in the service of her own community, and together with a fabulous team who are all so passionate about social justice.
Lesley joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in June 2010. From June 2010 to August 2012, she was responsible for many of the team’s administrative tasks. She also contributed significantly to the Creating Our Families study and its associated knowledge translation (KT) activities.
Since September 2012, Lesley has contributed to the team on a volunteer basis, largely working with Lori on KT activities and a project examining the relationship between geographic place of residence and risk for postpartum depression.
Lesley is currently a PhD student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, where she also participates in the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health. She is interested in women’s health, particularly the experiences of physically disabled women and sexual minority women during the perinatal period, mental health, and eliminating barriers to health care for marginalized populations more broadly.
In addition to her doctoral studies, Lesley contributes to a research study concerning community participation among people with schizophrenia (PI: Sean Kidd).
Beyond the books and the computer screen, Lesley enjoys cooking, traveling, playing recreational soccer, and daydreaming about moving to Maui.
Margaret Robinson is a Mi’kmaq scholar from Nova Scotia. She holds a PhD in theology from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation focused on the role of polyamory and monogamy in the identity of bisexual women in Toronto. Margaret joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health Team in November of 2010 as Project Coordinator of the Risk & Resilience study. In November of 2012 she was awarded a CAMH Fellowship in Community-Based Research, during which she began researching bisexual women’s use of cannabis.
A long-time bisexual activist, Margaret has co-chaired the Toronto Dyke March, volunteered with Pride Toronto, and worked as a facilitator and community organizer with Bisexual Women of Toronto and the Toronto Bisexual Network. Additionally, she was programming and financial director of the 9th International Conference on Bisexuality, and is currently a director of the Bisexuality Education Project. Margaret also has a background in journalism, with her writing in the LGBTQ press spanning a decade.
Her health interests include bisexual and trans equity, the social aetiology of mental illness, the social construction of substance use, intersecting oppressions, and sexual identity development. Her approach is feminist, intersectional and interdisciplinary. She also has an abiding interest in postcolonialism, and is a board member of the Journal of Postcolonial Networks.
In addition to her academic and research work, Margaret is a published poet who enjoys writing fan fiction, living vegan, gaming, and reading murder mysteries. She suspects that she has too many cats.
Myera joined the LGBTQ Health Re:search team in December 2010 as a Research Assistant for the Access to Primary Care project. Myera’s academic background is in Gender Studies (University of Toronto) and Couples & Family Counseling (University of Winnipeg). She is currently training to be a psychotherapist at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto and at Oolagen Community Services.
Myera has a particular interest in early childhood development/early attachment patterns as it relates to later life experiences of mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. She is also very interested in considering mental health and addiction from anti-oppression and feminist frameworks, which take into the consideration the existence of power imbalances and the psycho/emotional impact of marginalization. She believes in the importance of healthy, supportive and inclusive communities for the development of good mental and emotional health. She too is interested in the ways in which emotional histories can be stored in the body.
When taking a break from thinking about equality and mental/emotional health, Myera can be found swimming lengths, walking her dogs, writing stories she never shows anyone, or being in the company of her wonderful friends and family.
Nael joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in March 2011 as a Research Assistant for the Creating our Families Project. Nael did his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, holds an MA in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto, and is currently a PhD candidate in Women’s Studies at York University. Nael worked on the Trans PULSE project and is passionate about queer, psychoanalytic, transgender, post-colonial and diasporic theory.
Andre Joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in January 2012 as a Program Assistant, supporting the team’s administrative needs. Andre strongly believes in volunteerism and thinks that individuals should give back to their communities. He has volunteered with several non-profit organizations such as Jamaica Forum for All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), Pride In Action (PIA) and Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (BLACK CAP). These organizations provide support to youth who are being marginalized, stigmatized and or discriminated against because they are identified as being part of a particular social class or group. Additionally, Andre has worked with the National Interschool Brigade for two years where he held the position of a Captain. The admiration and love from youth in the group and the wider community has allowed Andre to garner the respect of all. His hard work and dedication has provided him with several accolades and awards, namely, the Superintendent Award of Leadership and Bravery.
Andre has been an advocate for several LGBTQ organizations. He has published several newspaper articles that provided a voice for those who don’t have one or those who are a bit reserved to let their voices heard. His personal experiences of stigma and discrimination have empowered him to get involve with organizations that support marginalized people, including but not limited to, members of the LGBTQ community.
He is currently pursuing his undergrad degree in Accounting and his ultimate goal is to become a Forensic Accountant.
Andre is committed to working with people and organizations to develop and foster a community that protects and respects the inherent right and freedom of all.
Jenna MacKay joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in January 2013 as a Research Analyst on the Risk and Resilience project. Jenna passionately believes that research is a social justice tools to improve people’s lives.
Jenna has worked as a researcher in various community (e.g., Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women) and institutional settings (e.g., York University, Women’s College Hospital). She has a BA in Women’s Studies/Psychology (York University) and a MA in Social Psychology (Carleton University). Her qualitative research has focused on non-medical perspectives of mental health, bi/queer/pan/fluid sexualities, and violence against women.
In addition to being a researcher, Jenna is an anti-oppressive feminist activist and organizer, blogger for Shameless Magazine and maker of things. Jenna enjoys travel, food, dogs, hunting for thrift store finds, baked goods, bicycles, preserving food and dreaming about rural landscapes.
Sarah joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in September 2012 as a Research Assistant for the Pathways Project. She holds an MA in Labour Studies from McMaster University, and is an artist and educator whose interests stretch from care models in a post-capitalist world to feminist poetics. Her poetry collection Cutting Room is out with Coach House Books.
Jake Pyne joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in January 2010 as part of a community-based research trainee position with the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health. Jake has worked in a variety of research and advocacy roles in Toronto's trans community over the past 10 years. His work has focused on access to services for trans people in the areas of housing and homelessness, health care and parenting. He is currently a Co-Investigator on the Trans PULSE study and on the Reproductive Mental Health team at the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health. Jake's current work also includes a number of community development projects related to trans parents and gender non-conforming children, projects which are based at Rainbow Health Ontario, Concordia University and the LGBTQ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre. Jake has a Master of Social Work degree from Ryerson University.
As part of the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team, Jake led the Transforming Family study from 2010-2012, which explored trans parents experiences of discrimination as well as the strengths that trans people bring to parenting. He is currently leading a small study exploring trans women's experiences of motherhood entitled: Regulating the Boundaries of Motherhood: A Case Study of Trans Women's Experiences in Relationship to Motherhood.
Giselle Gos joined the team in 2013 as a volunteer with the Risk and Resilience Study. She holds a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. Her research interests in gender, sexuality and subjectivity have moved beyond medieval literature to modern texts and individuals' experience understanding and constructing their own gender and identity. She is currently finishing a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University in the Department of English. Recently back in Toronto, she is getting involved in community work and LGBTQ activism by volunteering with the provincial NDP and the Sherbourne Health Centre; she is proudly a member of the organizing committee of the Toronto Dyke March for World Pride 2014.
Corey Flanders is currently a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health Team in January 2014 as a postdoctoral research fellow where she will be contributing to the postpartum mental health and the risk and resilience projects.
Corey’s primary research interest is sexual identity, and in particular the lived positive encounters and struggles bisexual people experience in relation to their sexual identity. Corey also enjoys researching all things sexuality from a positive psychology perspective.
When not actively enjoying her work, Corey spends most of her time with her partner and their dog, attempting to get them to agree to watch terrible made-for-TV sci-fi movies. The ones featuring aquatic monsters are her particular favorite.
Melissa Marie Legge is a Masters of Social Work student at Ryerson University, who will be completing a placement at CAMH starting in January 2014, under the supervision of Lori Ross. Melissa is proud to have grown up in Newfoundland, but has spent most of her adult life moving around Québec and Nova Scotia, before ending up in Toronto in September of 2012.
Melissa completed her BSW at Dalhousie University, with a focus on critical social work and community development. Her work experience has largely been with youth, and particularly in the area of social circus programming and in homeless shelters. She is currently employed at a residential program for adults diagnosed with schizophrenia in rural Ontario, west of Toronto. As part of her graduate program, Melissa will be conducting research on the role of animal-assisted interventions in anti-oppressive social work practice.
In addition to her social work interests, Melissa loves spending time with her two adopted greyhounds and her senior cat, and enjoys hot yoga, film photography, books, beekeeping, and spinning wool.
Karen joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in September 2013 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Aetiology of Mental Illness Program at CAMH. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from York University. Her research interests include gender roles, sexuality, and mental health. She is currently conducting a study under the supervision of Lori Ross involving the development of a tailored psychological treatment for the LGBTQ population that focuses on past bullying experiences.
We wish to thank all of the people who have worked with us over the past few years: Jasmin Taylor, Scott Anderson, datejie green, Heather McKee, Victoria Jakobson, Andrew Ross, Margaret Gibson, Sarah James-Abra, Marita Obst, Kinnon MacKinnon, Jenny Starke, Mika Atherton, Denise Sum, Emily Chen, Kira Abelson, Liz Brockest, Jennifer Henderson, Ayden Scheim, Tracy Woodford, Yun Gao, Rebecka Sheffield, Amy Siegel, Dean Spence, Jason Oliver and Jessica Wishart. A big thanks to all of the volunteers, students/trainees, and staff who have worked with us prior to the launch of this website (and sincerest apologizes to anyone that we missed!). We wish you well on your future endeavors and please stay in touch!
We welcome student collaborators. Depending on the needs of our projects, we offer learning opportunities for students and trainees at all levels, including high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, professional students (medicine, social work), and postdoctoral fellows. If you are a student or trainee interested in LGBTQ health, please contact us to learn more about ways to get involved with our team.