Researching for LGBTQ Health

Team

December 2017

Team August 2016

Lori Ross

Lori Ross

Dr. Lori Ross is an Associate Professor in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences Division of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and Affiliate Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. She is the leader of the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health Team.

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, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) people, in order to improve access to services for these communities.

Lori's most important job is being a Mom to her two kids, ages 11 and 4. 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.

Phone:
416-978-7514

Melissa Marie (emmy)

Melissa Marie

emmy is a PhD student (currently on leave) with the School of Social Work at McMaster University. They are proud to have grown up in Newfoundland, but they currently spend most of their time in Toronto. In their doctoral program, emmy conducts research on social work with other-than-human animals, and has interests in queer and posthumanist theory, and digital scholarship. emmy completed their BSW at Dalhousie University, with a focus on critical social work and community development, and their MSW at Ryerson University, researching animal-assisted interventions and anti-oppressive practice. When not working on projects for this team, they currently work as a bookseller for Another Story in Roncesvalles, where they delight in getting social justice oriented books into the hands and hearts of readers. emmy joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team as a placement student in January of 2014, and has been involved ever since. While on leave from their doctoral studies, emmy is spending some time exploring the mountains in Denver, Colorado. In addition to their academic interests, emmy loves spending time with their two greyhounds, two kittens, and their family, and enjoys film photography and roller skating.

Alex Abramovich

Alex Abramovich

Alex Abramovich has been addressing the issue of LGBTQ2S youth and young adult homelessness for over 10 years. Alex is a community-based, action-oriented researcher and his research focuses on access to housing, health care, and support for LGBTQ2S youth and young adults; how broader policy issues serve to create oppressive contexts for LGBTQ2S youth and young adults; and investigating health care utilization trajectories and health outcomes among trans individuals in Ontario.

After joining the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in September 2014 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Community-Based Research Program, Alex became an Independent Scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Alex's research has played an important role in practice and policy change and he has worked closely with all levels of government to help address the needs of LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.

Alex is committed to working towards ending LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada, and research that successfully and ethically engages the community and situates LGBTQ2S young people experiencing homelessness as knowledge makers and creators.

Hannah Kia

Hannah Kia

Hannah Kia joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in September 2014 as a Ph.D. student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Hannah was a clinical social worker in British Columbia, where she gained practice experience in palliative care and other health care specialty areas. During her time as a social worker, she undertook original research on the experiences of care-giving partners of gay men, and assisted with a Metropolis BC-funded study that examined the experiences and service needs of sexual minority newcomers. Hannah holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from the University of British Columbia.

At this time, Hannah's research interests centre on examining health care access among older LGBTQ2S+ adults. In pursuing her doctoral studies, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how older LGBTQ2S+ adults, particularly those living with HIV and other chronic illnesses, might experience stigma and discrimination as barriers to accessing care. In April 2015, Hannah was awarded a Doctoral Research Award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support her work in this area.

When Hannah is not busy with school or work, she can be found playing three-chord ballads on her guitar, writing poetry at odd hours, or making unsuccessful attempts at Persian cooking.

Kinnon MacKinnon

Kinnon MacKinnon

Kinnon Ross MacKinnon is a PhD candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He is also currently a doctoral fellow at The Wilson Centre (University Health Network & Faculty of Medicine). He joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health team in 2011 as a Master of Social Work practicum student. Kinnon holds an MSW from Ryerson University, and has completed a Lupina junior fellowship at the Comparative Program on Health and Society (Munk School of Global Affairs).

Kinnon's broad program of research uses social theory and qualitative methods to investigate queer and trans health issues with the goal of advancing LGBTQ inclusion at the policy and practice levels.

Using institutional ethnography, Kinnon's doctoral research project maps how standardized clinical care texts shape how (and why) health care providers assess trans people’s readiness for hormones and surgeries. This research has led him to collaborate on the development of a knowledge mobilization podcast targeted at primary care providers learning trans healthcare issues. This knowledge translation project is funded by the Institute of Gender and Health - Canadian Institutes of Health Research and will be publicly available later in 2018.

Jenna MacKay

Jenna MacKay

Jenna joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in January of 2013 as a qualitative analyst on the bisexual mental health project and is supporting the knowledge translation activities of this project.

Jenna completed an MA in Psychology (Carleton University) and an Hons. BA (cum laude) in Psychology and Women’s Studies (York University). Jenna has ten years of rich, diverse work experience in academic, non-profit, hospital and government contexts. Her work has focused on violence against women, women’s mental health, bisexuality, service access and stakeholder engagement. She is an award winning qualitative researcher and educator, and has presented her work internationally.

In addition to being a researcher, Jenna is a community organizer, educator and artist. She is passionate about documenting marginalized histories and manages the project Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Currently Jenna is working towards a Masters of Social Work at University of Toronto to further marry her passion for research with applied skills and deepen her understanding of health from a systems perspective.

Wook Yang

Wook Yang

Wook Yang is a doctoral student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He joined Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in October 2015. His primary research interests are centered on developing policy and behavioral interventions that can reduce the adverse mental health outcomes in older LGBTQ2S+ adults.

Aside from his academic involvements, Wook has been working with non-profit organizations in order to educate community members on LGBTQ2S+ issues. As a Facilitator at The 519, he continues to encourage various community groups to foster LGBTQ2S+ inclusive environments.

Renato (Rainier) M. Liboro

Renato Liboro

Rainier completed his PhD in Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2015. He joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health Research Team in April 2016. Prior to joining the team, Rainier conducted community-based research as a member of the Equity, Sexual Health, and HIV Research Group of the Centre for Community Research, Learning, and Action. The main focus of his research was on the impact of provincial education legislation mandating support for LGBTQ youth in publicly funded schools on the efforts of advocates for the mental health and wellbeing of sexual and gender minority students. He conducted this research in collaboration with stakeholders from the Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and KW Counselling Services.

Rainier is currently a Community-Based Research (CBR) Postdoctoral Fellow of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research of the Centre for Addiction of Mental Health. His research from 2016 to 2018 explored the perspectives of community-based service providers on their own knowledge and preparedness in addressing mental health concerns and issues of people living with or at risk of developing HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders. With funding from a CIHR Operating Grant (HIV/AIDS CBR Program) that he, his supervisors, and community partners received this year, Rainier and his collaborators will soon be conducting a new program of study that will examine the perspectives of middle aged and older Ontario men who have sex with men regarding their resilience to HIV/AIDS. This project will include the active engagement of AIDS service organizations and LGBTQ agencies from across the province.

Kendra-Ann Pitt

Kendra-Ann PittKendra-Ann Pitt is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto where she is project coordinator for the Peers Examining Experiences in Research Study (PEERS)—a project exploring peer researcher involvement in participatory and community based research. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education and Women & Gender Studies, as well as graduate and undergraduate degrees in Social Work. Her SSHRC funded doctoral research addressed issues of gender, race and sexuality in relation domestic violence interventions in the Anglophone Caribbean. Kendra has worked as a counsellor and domestic violence advocate and has been involved in anti-violence efforts in the Caribbean, Canada and the UK. Her work as a researcher and educator has been guided by her enduring commitment to producing social equity.

Merrick Pilling

Merrick Pilling

Merrick Pilling is a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Lori Ross on the Peers Examining Experiences in Research (PEERS) study at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

In recent years, Merrick has worked on various projects focused on mental distress and social justice. Most recently, he coordinated a qualitative chart review project examining cultural narratives of gender in psychiatric inpatient charts using an intersectional lens that considers madness, gender, sexuality, race, and class. Previously, he coordinated a study using mixed methods to explore the community participation experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and trans people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Merrick holds a PhD in Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies from York University, an MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies from Brock University, and a BA (Hons) in Conflict Resolution Studies and Women's Studies from the University of Winnipeg. His doctoral research used qualitative approaches to examine the impact of the biomedical model of mental illness on the lives of LGBTQ who experience mental distress. In general, his work employs Mad Studies approaches to understanding mental distress, and emphasizes the importance of centering psychiatric survivor knowledge and the lived experience of marginalization. Recent publications include chapters in the anthologies Containing Madness: Gender and 'Psy' in Institutional Contexts (Palgrave MacMillan) and Madness, Violence and Power: A Radical Anthology (University of Toronto Press).

Charles Fehr

Charles Fehr

Charles Fehr joined the Re:searching LGBTQ Health team in January of 2017 with an interest in reestablishing a career in research and a continued interest in LGBTQ2S health and wellbeing. He has an MA in Applied Social Psychology where he focused on the effects of prejudicial attitudes and behaviors on members of the LGBTQ community within the context of the workplace. He has previous experience conducting needs assessments and evaluations of student and health services. Charles returns to research after several years working in home renovation construction.

He is a member of the poverty reduction strategy group and most recently participated as a co-author on the bisexual health systematic reviews. Charles is interested in continuing to pursue research on LGBTQ health outcomes and to work in research administration. He most recently worked as a coordinator facilitating research on GBMSM health with the CRUISElab team at Factor Inwentash, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. He has a lifelong interest in gardening (roses in particular), a previous BA in music and an ARCT in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (emphasis on previous).

Monica Ghabrial

Monica Ghabrial

Monica Ghabrial is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto and joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ+ Health team in 2017. Her research interests include investigating stress and resilience in marginalized populations and exploring the relationship between physical and mental health. Monica has worked on projects dedicated to reducing instances of sexual violence on university campuses, exploring housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence, and developing resources for women living with HIV. Her doctoral research is focused on examining the unique experiences of racialized sexual orientation and gender minority people. This research, informed by intersectionality theory, uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate identity conflict, stress, and resilience among LGBTQ+ people of colour.

Monica spends most of her time at the library, but when she's not there, she enjoys meeting dogs on the street, eating burritos in the park, and picking up kettlebells at the gym.

Jen Goldberg

Jen Goldberg

Jen Goldberg has practiced midwifery for over twenty years, is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Ryerson University, and a partner at Community Midwives of Toronto. In addition to practicing midwifery, she is currently working towards a Master of Public Health (Family and Community Medicine) at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. With mentorship from Dr Lori Ross, Jen is designing intersectional, community-based participatory research that aims to explore Ontario midwives' attitudes towards sexual and gender minority people, including bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, trans, non-binary and Two-Spirit folks. Jen's ideas and interests are located at the intersections of LGBTQ2S+ health, research, and reproductive health and justice, and midwives as partners in public health and primary care.

Shilini Hemalal

Shilini Hemalal

Shilini completed her Bachelor of Arts and Science in April 2017 at the University of Guelph, where she studied Family and Child Studies and Biology. Shilini is now completing her Master of Science through the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. She joined CReATE in September 2017 and is working with her supervisor Dr. Librach and the Psychosocial Research Department to complete her research thesis work. Her interest lies in understanding the interdisciplinary and integrated nature of health care, specifically how overall health and wellbeing is influenced by other aspects of life. With this, her thesis work aims to understand the Facilitators of and Barriers to Accessing Reproductive Care for Same-Sex Male Couples and Single Men. Her hope is that research such as this will help inform health care practitioners and clinics as to how they can best meet the needs of their patients, as well as reduce disparities that may exist in accessing care.


Thank You

We wish to thank all of the people who have worked with us over the past few years: Karen Roberts, Jasmin Taylor, Scott Anderson, datejie green, Heather McKee, Victoria Jakobson, Andrew Ross, Margaret Gibson, Sarah James-Abra, Marita Obst, 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, Jessica Wishart, Giselle Gos, Andre Smith, Myera Waese, Sarah Pinder, Nael Bhanji, Iradele Plante, Keisha Williams, and Alia Januwalla.

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!

Student Opportunities

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 LGBTQ2S+ health, please contact us to learn more about ways to get involved with our team.