What is your medical specialty? How did you arrive at this specialization?
I am trained in pediatrics and specializing in adolescent medicine. My training in pediatrics allows me to approach adolescent health care from the developmental perspective. During my training, I have met so many patients struggling with their burgeoning sexual and/or gender identity, and I wanted to find ways to help them build resilience as they go through a very difficult period in their lives.
What is your current research project?
My current research project is studying how parental monitoring affects mental health outcomes in heterosexual versus sexual minority youth (youth who identify as gay/lesbian/bisexual, endorse same-sex attractions, or have same-sex romantic/sexual partners). There is this assumption that parenting sexual minority youth should be the same as parenting heterosexual youth, but our study shows that may not be the case. Hopefully the results of my study can inform interventions involving parents that address the unique challenges parents face while raising their sexual minority children.
Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.
I have the honor to be chair of the planning committee for the Ohio Valley of Society Health and Medicine 2015 Regional Conference. It is so rewarding to get together a diverse group of health and research professionals dedicated to improving the health of adolescents and young adults.
What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?
I would like to join an academic medical institution as a faculty member and hopefully obtain my first K Award.
If not a scientist, what would you be?
Probably a novelist writing stories about teenagers.