How can transgender youth, their parents, caregivers, and health care providers work together to make health care decisions that support trans youth well-being? Beth’s interdisciplinary research focuses on improving health outcomes of marginalized populations through the study of health care access, ethical decision making, and shared decision making processes.

Research Description

Hormone therapy is a form of gender-affirming health care that is medically necessary for many transgender (trans) youth, but trans youth commonly experience barriers to accessing this care. Health care providers support youth and their parents/caregivers in making decisions regarding care. However, on the topic of trans youth hormone therapy decision making, both research and clinical practice tools are lacking. My research explores how trans youth, parents/caregivers, and health care providers make decisions about initiating hormone therapy. Through examination of ethical dilemmas faced by health care providers and investigation of how shared decision making processes unfold, I seek to generate theory that can inform the development of clinical practice tools and improve health services for trans youth and their families. Collaborators on this research include Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, the BC Children’s Hospital, and Trans Care BC, a new provincial program coordinating trans health services in British Columbia.

What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?

Public Scholars partnerships have the potential to change how research is viewed within organizations and to support effective engagement with various stakeholders. For me, being a Public Scholar provides an opportunity to build relationships with government and community organizations that will help translate of research findings into improved health care practices.

In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?

The Public Scholars Initiative opens up possibilities for research design and knowledge exchange that stretch the boundaries of traditional doctoral scholarship. It promotes innovation and creativity and offers opportunities for scholars from across the university to engage with one another as their research evolves. This invites new perspectives and promotes critical thinking about how scholars engage in research within and across disciplines, as well as ways to effectively engage publics in order to strengthen the impacts of scholarship.

How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?

My career goal is to be in a role that centres around ethics and health care research for marginalized populations. I have strong interests in education, research, policy development, and clinical practice, and am fortunate to work with the Public Scholars Initiative to build connections and gain valuable experience both in and outside academia that will expand possibilities for post-doctoral career paths within government, private sector, post-secondary teaching, and research.

How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?

My research engages directly with youth, parent/caregiver, and health care provider participants through interviews and advisory groups. It will also reach educators, policy makers, community organizations, government health authorities, trans communities, and the general public through knowledge exchange activities, including a youth-driven, arts-based knowledge exchange project.

How do you hope your work can make a contribution to the “public good”?

One of the overarching goals of my program of research is reducing health disparities within marginalized populations. All people should have access to the health care and supports they need to thrive, and I hope that my current research will play a role in improving access to needed care for transgender youth, while also contributing to the public good through serving as a model for addressing similar issues with other marginalized populations.

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

After working as a clinician for several years, I began to undertake research to answer questions that arose in my practice. In collaboration with experienced researchers at UBC, I pursued projects that both informed my practice and furthered my interest in research. I reached a point where I recognized that formal study would be the best way continue growing as a researcher, and pursuing a PhD became the next step in this journey.

Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?

UBC has an established Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program with a long track record of supporting innovative research. This program has provided me with the opportunity to bring together my interests and experience in health care, education, ethics, and the arts and engage in research that will reach many audiences.

 

For me, being a Public Scholar provides an opportunity to build relationships with government and community organizations that will help translate of research findings into improved health care practices".