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“Community-Grounded Research to Address Mental Health Disparities of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Touched by Foster Care”

What are the mental health comorbidities and protective factors for sexual and gender minority youth in foster care? Dana Prince, assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, will investigate this question in the next installment of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) Monthly Seminar Series.

Dana Prince
Dana Prince

Prince will present “Community-Grounded Research to Address Mental Health Disparities of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Touched by Foster Care” Wednesday, Nov. 14, from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the BioEnterprise Building, Room B-03.

About the talk

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, or those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender-nonconforming, are at increased risk for mood and anxiety disorders as well as suicide.

SGM is the National Institutes of Health-designated definition for individuals who are a sexual minority (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual) and/or have a minority gender identity or expression (e.g., transgender, gender non-conforming).

SGM youth are overrepresented in the foster care system. Transgender youth specifically represent approximately 2.3 percent of the general population and 5.6 percent of youth in foster care.

Once in foster care, SGM youths experience greater placement instability, longer lengths of stay and more restrictive placements settings (e.g., congregate care or group home) compared to their heterosexual peers.

However, little is known about the impacts of foster care involvement on SGM adolescent and young adult mental health.

In this talk, Prince will discuss her NIH-funded research with the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services and local community-based agencies, including the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland and the YWCA A Place 4 Me, to investigate mental health comorbidities and protective factors for this marginalized group.

Grounded in principles of community-based research and youth empowerment, this research engages multiple key stakeholders in study design, implementation, participant recruitment and data sharing. Theoretical, methodological, and ethical considerations for conducting research with gender and sexual minority and foster care-involved young people will be discussed.

About the speaker

Prior to joining the faculty at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Dana M. Prince, completed her National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale School of Medicine in 2016.

Prince has developed a robust program of health disparities research that focuses on the transition to adulthood for vulnerable and marginalized youth, most notably substance use, incarceration, and homelessness, among adolescents and young adults transitioning from foster care.

Subgroups of youth in foster care, notably SGM youth, face additional risks. Prince is involved in two federally funded research projects focused on SGM youth in foster care.

About the series

The PRCHN Monthly Seminar Series takes place on the second Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:15 p.m. in BioEnterprise Building’s PRCHN Meeting Room (unless otherwise noted).

The public is welcome to attend, and a light lunch is served.

Visit the PRCHN website to learn more about the series.