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 and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health 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 A. Tarasoff, MA, has been a member of the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team since June 2010 and has contributed to a number of the team’s projects, most notably the Creating Our Families study and its associated knowledge translation activities.
She is currently a CIHR-HCTP Fellow and SSHRC-funded PhD Candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Using an intersectional framework, her dissertation research focuses on how physically disabled women experience the perinatal period, with an emphasis on embodiment.
Lesley collaborates with researchers and clinicians in Canada and the U.S. to improve the perinatal care experiences and outcomes of physically disabled women.
From 2012-2014, she contributed to a project concerning how people who have been diagnosed with psychosis participate in their communities.
Lesley is interested in the health of marginalized groups of women; the sociology of health and illness; reproductive technologies; gender and health; disability and health; community-based research; critical qualitative research; and, health/medical education, including novel ways to engage health professionals, such as arts-based and interactive knowledge translation activities.
Beyond the books, articles, and computer screen, she enjoys cooking (and eating!), traveling, playing recreational soccer, cycling, reading (yes, more reading!) 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.
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.
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.
Corey Flanders joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health Team in January 2014 as a postdoctoral research fellow where she is the research coordinator for the NIH-funded postpartum well-being project.
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.
Alex Abramovich completed his Ph.D. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Alex joined Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in September 2014 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Community-Based Research Program.
Alex has been working in the area of LGBTQ youth homelessness for almost 10 years. Alex’s Ph.D. study investigated how homophobia and transphobia occurs and is managed in the shelter system, what is sustaining the homophobia and transphobia in the shelter system, and how broader policy issues serve to create oppressive contexts for LGBTQ youth. This study made it possible for the voices of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness to be heard in the context of a critical public health and social justice problem. This study was part of a large program of work that Alex has created in order to address and hopefully end LGBTQ youth homelessness in Canada.
Alex’s postdoctoral research is a qualitative film-based study that focuses on LGBTQ youth homelessness and access to mental health services. Alex’s research is grounded in the elements of Critical Action Research, Critical Ethnography, and Institutional Ethnography. He is committed to research that successfully and ethically engages the community and situates LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness as knowledge makers and creators. He is interested in youth culture, homelessness and health care, community engagement, and film-based methods.
- More information on Alex’s work
Hossein 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 his doctoral studies, Hossein was a clinical social worker in British Columbia, where he gained practice experience in palliative care and other health care specialty areas. During his time as a social worker, he 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. Hossein holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from the University of British Columbia.
At this time, Hossein's research interests centre on examining the role of health care systems in addressing social determinants of health in LGBTQ communities. He is particularly interested in gaining insight into social dimensions of health deemed most salient by LGBTQ adults accessing formal systems of care. Hossein believes in drawing on a framework of intersectionality to situate experiences of marginalization that LGBTQ individuals may encounter at the interface of illness and access to care.
When Hossein is not busy with school or work, he can be found playing three-chord ballads on his guitar, writing poetry at odd hours, or making unsuccessful attempts at Persian cooking.
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, Jessica Wishart, Giselle Gos, Andre Smith, Jenna MacKay, Myera Waese and Sarah Pinder. 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.