Investigaytors is a participatory, community-based, capacity-building intervention that equips young queer, trans, and Two-Spirit people with the social connections, health knowledge, and community-based research skills they need to be health leaders in their communities. Launched in Vancouver in 2011, Investigaytors is now run in cities and communities across Canada. Through the program, youth gain hands-on real-life research experience, grounded in the principles of community-based research. Program participants learn about quantitative and qualitative research skills, social determinants of health, HIV prevention and sexual health, and the utility of research in addressing health inequities and knowledge gaps.
Maria Nemis (she/they) is an Investigaytor with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dalhousie University. Maria works as a peer supporter for youth living with mental illness at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They are passionate about 2SLGBTQIA+ and eating disorder research, and have volunteered as a first-voice contributor to several research projects and committees since graduating university. Maria's current project is “The impact of access to gender-affirming healthcare services on eating disorder concerns in gender minority communities” which is about the relationship between access to gender-affirming healthcare and prevalence of eating disorder concerns in transgender, non-binary, and other gender-diverse individuals. In her spare time, Maria enjoys making art and spending time with her partner, children, and pets.
Jasmine Tang (pronouns: they/them) is in their final year of a BSc in biology and psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University. Their primary research interests are in queer health and wellness, and in how healthcare systems can change to better support the health of queer people. The project that they will be presenting is entitled “Minority stress, community connectedness, and substance-related coping in GBT2Q individuals”, and it is an examination of how substance use as a coping mechanism affects the link between minority stress and psychological distress.
Karen Stewart-Kirk is an aspiring researcher and has worked on several health outcomes focused projects with the intent to use the voices of the participating community to inform infrastructural change to better provide solutions and prevention plans to foster healthy communities. They moved from rural Alberta to Prince Edward Island to obtain a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Prince Edward Island and then went on to complete a Master of Public Health from Western University in London, Ontario. In today’s Summit, they will be presenting on their findings from the 2021 Sex Now Survey, describing the significance between PrEP initiation barriers by population density across Canada within the GBTQ+ community. In their spare time, Karen trains for triathlons and hangs out with their cat.
Yaejin Kim (she/her) is a transfer student from America who is currently doing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University, aiming to work in the mental health field. She currently lives with her partner and her cat in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As an LGBT woman and a visible minority, she recognizes that there is a growing need for inclusivity in research for the specific contexts and factors for mental health for minority groups. Accordingly, she wishes to address barriers in access to treatment and the gaps in research that remain to institutional blind spots to the specific needs of under-researched groups.
Andi Kpolugbo (she/her) currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she was born and raised for most of her life. She is doing her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. She plans on working in mental health, with an emphasis on issues surrounding gender and sexuality. As a queer person of colour, she thinks it is important to take an intersectional approach to research to better address the concerns of marginalized peoples. It is important to include members of the groups being studied in the research process, which is why she is looking forward to doing further research on the groups to which she belongs.
“Reconceptualizing Body Image and Eating Disorders for GBQM” will discuss the pervasive biases in research surrounding gay, bisexual, and queer men with regards to body image and eating disorders and alternative frameworks for more effective treatment modalities.
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