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 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 two kids, ages 8 and 1. 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 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, including the Creating Our Families study and its associated knowledge translation activities.
She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Her dissertation research focuses on how women with physical or mobility-limiting disabilities experience the transition to motherhood, with an emphasis on embodiment.
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 somewhere warm.
Margaret Robinson is a Mi’kmaq scholar from Nova Scotia and a member of the Lennox Island First Nation. She holds a PhD in theology from the University of Toronto. Her work examines mental health and substance use in Indigenous and Settler populations, especially among sexual and gender minority people. She is currently a Researcher in Residence in Indigenous Health at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and an Affiliate Research Scientist at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario.
A long-time bisexual activist, Margaret has co-chaired the Toronto Dyke March, volunteered with Pride Toronto, served as a facilitator and community organizer with Bisexual Women of Toronto and the Toronto Bisexual Network, and was programming and financial director of the 9th International Conference on Bisexuality. Margaret 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, postcolonial, and interdisciplinary. In addition to her academic work, Margaret is a published poet who enjoys living vegan.
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 15 years and was 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. 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. He is a Trudeau Scholar and a doctoral student in the McMaster School of Social Work. His work focuses on the new generation of trans youth who are blocking puberty and transitioning young and asks how their futures have become thinkable in this time and place.
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 interests focus on the sexual, reproductive, and mental health of sexual and gender minority people. In particular, she is interested in how health outcomes from these domains interact with one another and how they relate to the lived experiences of sexual and gender minority people.
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 second year PhD student in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. She 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. In her doctoral program, Melissa conducts research on social work with other-than-human animals, and has interests in queer and posthumanist theory, and digital scholarship.
Melissa completed her BSW at Dalhousie University, with a focus on critical social work and community development, and her MSW at Ryerson University, researching animal-assisted interventions and anti-oppressive practice. Her work experience has largely been with youth, particularly in the area of social circus programming, in emergency shelters, and in residential mental health programs. Melissa joined the team as a placement student in January of 2014 and has been involved ever since.
In addition to her academic interests, Melissa loves spending time with her two adopted greyhounds, and enjoys playing soccer, film photography, books, beekeeping, and spinning wool.
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. His postdoctoral research is a qualitative film-based study, entitled: Identifying Obstacles to Accessing Mental Health Services by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) Homeless Youth through Brokered Dialogue; which focuses on LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and access to mental health services.
Alex has been working in the area of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness for close to 10 years. His 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 LGBTQ2S youth. This study was part of a large program of work that Alex has created in order to address and hopefully end LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada. This work has had an impact on practice and policy, and Alex has been working closely with municipal and provincial government to help address the needs of LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.
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 LGBTQ2S young people experiencing homelessness as knowledge makers and creators. Alex is interested in youth culture, homelessness and health care, community engagement, and film-based methods.
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 LGBTQ adults. In pursuing her doctoral studies, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how older LGBTQ 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.
Jaime Caravaca-Morera is a professional nurse, professor and researcher at the University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica. He has completed the International Research Capacity-Building Program for Health Related Professionals to Study the Drug Phenomenon in Latin America. Currently Jaime is a PhD student at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.
Jaime has been working in the area of health and vulnerable populations for almost 5 years. With regards his Master's Degree, Jaime worked with homeless people and crack users. His current dissertation research examines the life stories and social representations of sex, body, gender and sexuality among transgender people in Brazil, Canada and Costa Rica.
He is member of the History of Nursing and Health Care Knowledge Study Group (GEHCES) and the Group of Research in Mental Health and Drug Consumption (APIS) in Brazil. He is interested in public health, international health, vulnerable populations, drug phenomenon, homelessness, gender and queer studies.
Kinnon Ross MacKinnon is a PhD student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health team in 2011 as a Master of Social Work practicum student. Kinnon holds a BA (History & Gender Studies) from Saint Mary's University, a BSW from York University, and a MSW from Ryerson University.
Over the past ten years Kinnon has contributed in numerous social service, advocacy and research positions in the areas of health equity for marginalized groups. In 2012-2014 he worked on clinical research studies investigating treatment programs for individuals diagnosed with psychosis and type II diabetes. In collaboration with Sheena's Place, Kinnon used community-based research approaches to co-organize and facilitate a support group for self-identified men dealing with body image and/or eating disorder concerns. He is currently a Research Coordinator on a project looking at trans-inclusion in sexual health education for youth at Planned Parenthood Toronto.
As an outspoken advocate for equity in sport, Kinnon is a volunteer coach for Special Olympics powerlifting, and became the first openly trans man to compete and medal in powerlifting at the Gay Games in 2014. He was named a 'Sports Hero' by the 2015 Inspire Awards.
Supervised by Dr. Lori Ross, Kinnon's doctoral research uses social theories to consider trans persons' interactions with the institution of psychiatry. Generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, his PhD project applies mixed methods in order to explore the barriers and discrimination that trans people experience within the mental health care system.
Iradele joined the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health team in May of 2015 as a research assistant to the NIH-funded postpartum well-being project under the direction of Corey Flanders and Lori Ross. She a MPH student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with a specialization in Health Promotion and Sexual Diversity Studies. Her love for sexuality and education blossomed during her undergrad, where was taught through some amazing community-based organizations in Montreal such as the ACCM and Head & Hands During that time, she was also privileged to do a semester abroad at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, where she learned about how legislation shapes individual, social and cultural perceptions of health and how that impacts health care access. She then moved to Akron Ohio to work for the CANAPI where she helped create a rental assistance program for street-involved folks living with HIV/AIDS. Aside from bisexual women’s health, her other research interests include the role that the internet can have for sex ed and health literacy, which appropriately explains her undying love for youtube celebrities, podcasts, Twitter and OhJoySexToy. Unrelated to the internet and sex ed, Iradele also really loves eating a ton of tacos, hanging out with friends in parks on sunny days, and being loudly opinionated about movies she doesn’t even really finish.
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.
Keisha Williams has been a member of the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team since February 2015 and is currently working on the postpartum mental health among visible and invisible sexual minority women research project.
Keisha Williams is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Her research interests are health equity, marginalized population health, policy and maternal/child health. She has an honours undergraduate degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management, with a specialization in human rights. For the last five years, Keisha has been working within the community health sector with vulnerable populations (including HIV positive women and criminalized and/or incarcerated women). She is a board member of Parkdale Community Health Centre. In 2014, she received an Access, Equity and Human Rights Award from the City of Toronto.
Alia Januwalla is a Masters of Public Health student in Health Promotion at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She joined the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health Team in May 2015 for her practicum placement, and has had the opportunity to continue on with the team during the 2015-2016 year. She is working on the postpartum mental health and well-being project. Her professional interests include maternal health, mental health, and reproductive care, locally and internationally.
Wook Yang is a Master of Education student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. He joined Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team in October 2015. His primary research interests are centered on developing a behavioral intervention model that can reduce the adverse health outcomes in older LGBTQ adults.
Wook holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Cognitive Science from McGill University. In 2015, under the supervision of Dr. Shelley Craig, he completed a study that examined the efficacy of a new affirmative group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for LGBTQ youth.
Aside from his academic involvements, Wook has been working with non-profit organizations in order to educate community members on LGBTQ issues. As a Facilitator at The 519, he continues to encourage various community groups to foster LGBTQ inclusive environments.
Wook hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in public health and continue his research on LGBTQ mental health.
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, 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, 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.