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MSASS’s Dana Prince, PhD, Discusses Mental Health Disparities of Sexual Minority Youth in Foster Care at next PRCHN Seminar

What are the mental health comorbidities and protective factors for sexual and gender minority youth in foster care? Dr. Dana Prince, Assistant Professor in the CWRU Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, investigates this question in “Community-Grounded Research to Address Mental Health Disparities of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Touched by Foster Care” on Wednesday, November 14 from 12:00-1:15 pm as part of the PRCHN Monthly Seminar Series.

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, or those that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender-nonconforming, are at increased risk for mood and anxiety disorders as well as suicidality. SGM youth are overrepresented in the foster care system with estimates ranging between 18-60%. Transgender youth represent approximately 2.3% of the general population and 5.6% 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. Dr. Prince will discuss her NIH-funded research with 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 for 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. 

Prior to joining the faculty at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, Dana M. Prince, PhD, MPH, completed her NIDA-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale School of Medicine in 2016. Dr. 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 sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, face additional risks. SGM is the NIH-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). Dr. Prince is currently involved in two federally funded research projects focused on SGM youth in foster care. 

The PRCHN Monthly Seminar Series takes place on the second Wednesday of the month from 12:00-1:15 pm in the BioEnterprise Bldg., 10000 Cedar Avenue, B-03, PRCHN Meeting Room (unless otherwise noted). The public is welcome to attend, and a light lunch is served.

Contact with questions: Susan Petrone at smp146@case.edu