Category Archives: Research

There is a role for activism in academia and research: ACT-UP as an example.

The Controversy surrounding Rebecca Tuvel’s article in the pages of Hypatia brings to my mind the activity involving the publication of the Man Who Would Be Queen (MWWBQ) by J Michael Bailey.  I’ve discussed this book with others in a podcast available here, and is also discussed in Alice Dreger’s Book Galileo’s’ Middle Finger so I won’t be discussing it further except to highlight an issue that both brings to mind.   What role do community members and community members who are themselves academics) have in in the production and discussion of academic work.

Those supporting Dr. Tuvel’s  and Bailey’s works view the critiques as being unwarranted and unwanted with some equating their actions with that of a Witch Hunt and the Catholic Church during the dark ages.   As if people of color and trans people have the kind of institutional power as either Puritan leaders of Salem or the Catholic Church.  Both these reactions are dismissive and do little to minimize the tension between groups.  Rather than these examples I would point people to another example, that of AIDS activists and biomedical researchers.

ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) arose to confront the discrimination and stigma people with HIV/AIDS were experiencing.  Their actions put them against politicians (especially the Reagan Administrations and Senator Jesse Helms), but also pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and researchers.  They spent much energy protesting and advocating for community representation and involvement in how new drugs are tested and made available to those in need.  The results of their actions led to the inclusion of those affected by HIV/AIDS in having a say in how HIV/AIDS work is done.  This is not to say that the actions of ACT-UP were always constructive.  I don’t think placing a giant condom over Senator Helm’s house helped change some people’s mind.  What did help was that there were officials and researchers who did listen and helped ACT-UP bring about changes to support both HIV/AIDS activists and the conduct of research to the betterment of both communities.

This is where my perspective begins.  My work in trans health research was greatly influenced by this and career involved working with community members in the conduct of health research and programs.  So I wonder why other fields are so hesitant in hearing critiques from others.  Yes, some critiques are harsh and there are poor responses from people on multiple sides, but that doesn’t negate the need to respond to the criticism.  I’ve had my share of harsh criticisms that upset me.  I had moments that I was so angry at people’s reactions and wanted to respond in kind.  This is why people stress the need for cultural humility when doing work that involves other communities.  To focus on the needs of others rather than my own needs, which is easier said than done, is still important to strive for.

I empathize with Rebecca Tuvel’s plight as an assistant professor who is just beginning her career.  I wish to advise her to take this experience and rather than build a wall between herself and her critics, to reach out, listen, and to work with them.  To develop the humility that one’s perspective isn’t always correct.  To take the example of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an HIV researcher and NIH official who many activists at the time called a murderer.  Rather than be defensive and ignore them he chose to work with many of the people who called him names.

And for the editors of Hypatia and others, if you were concerned for the plight of junior academics I would focus your actions more broadly and include those academics of color, trans academics, and other academics from marginalized communities and to improve your competency when it comes to issues and works involving those communities.  If Dr. Tuvel received better guidance from editors and reviewers she wouldn’t have had to go through these experiences in the first place.





The T in the CLE: TransPop: U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey

Soon there  will be the first nationwide population based study on the health of transgender populations in the US.  The study is a collaboration between the Williams Institute at UCLA, Fenway Institute, and Columbia University, and will examine the healthcare needs of trans people.  The study will also provide a better estimate of the size of transgender populations within the US.

I interviewed two of the study’s investigators a year ago.  We talked about the the study’s purpose and goals.

Jody Herman, PhD., Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles

Sari L. Reisner, Sc.D., Affiliated Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Harvard University and The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health

For more information about Trans-Pop can go to their website.


New Program Announcements for Gender and Sexual Minority Grants at NIH

These take the place of the program announcements for LGBTI Health Disparities that expired earlier this month.

The Health of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (R15)
Application deadlines (3 times a year): Feb. 25, June 25, Oct. 25
FOA expires: Sept. 8, 2018
For more information about this FOA, see this link:

The Health of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (R01)
Application deadlines (3 times a year): Feb. 5, June 5, Oct. 5
FOA expires: Sept. 8, 2018
For more information about this FOA, see this link:

The Health of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (R03)
Application deadlines (3 times a year): Feb. 16, June 16, Oct. 16
FOA expires: Sept. 8, 2018
For more information about this FOA, see this link:

The Health of Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations (R21)
Application deadlines (3 times a year): Feb. 16, June 16, Oct. 16
FOA expires: Sept. 8, 2018
For more information about this FOA, see this link:

Experts Release New Report Highlighting the Lack of Population-Based Data about Transgender People and Other Gender Minorities

Experts Release New Report Highlighting the Lack of Population-Based Data about Transgender People and Other Gender Minorities

Current survey practices fail to identify transgender and other gender minority respondents

Los Angeles—A new report released today by the Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance (GenIUSS) group highlights the lack of survey measures to identify transgender and other gender minority respondents in most federally-supported population-based surveys. This groundbreaking report, entitled Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys, examines current practices in population-based surveys to see which surveys currently include measures to identify transgender and other gender minority respondents and offers expert recommendations for including sex and gender-related measures in population-based surveys.

The 2011 Institute of Medicine report on LGBT health specifically identified transgender health research as being a high priority.  However, without adequate measures to differentiate between trans and cis people such research would be very difficult to conduct.

The report offers best practices for identifying transgender and other gender minority respondents in population-based surveys. Among the best practices delineated in the report, the most effective is the “two-step” approach. This practice includes measures of self-reported assigned sex at birth (the birth recorded on one’s original birth certificate) and gender identity at the time of the survey. There are also recommendations on the best way to place and integrate sex and gender-related measures into population-based surveys in this report.

Among the federally supported population-based surveys that currently do not include measures to identify gender minority respondents are the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, and the National Health Interview Survey, and others.

The proposed guidelines are an important step in working toward the the development and inclusion of transgender health within national health studies.

The full report is available here:


The Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance (GenIUSS) Group is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional group of experts convened by the Williams Institute to increase population-based data about transgender people and other gender minorities by advancing the development of gender-related measures for population-based surveys, with a particular consideration for publicly-funded data collection efforts.

Teaching R to Undergraduates Part 1, Why R and How to Install it

Teaching R to Undergraduates Part 1, Why R and How to Install it (work in progress)

 # This will be a rough draft of what I hope to provide for students in my research class in the fall.  Suggestions/questions welcome.

 First, what is R and why are we using it?

 ·        R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

·        Have I mentioned that its free and can be used on multiple platforms (windows, mac, linux)

 So it’s free, but is it any good?

 ·        R is used by many academics, and companies around the world.  Google and Health Canada both use R for example.

·        It is a living program, in that it has a community constantly building and adapting the program.  

·        It can provide very powerful tools for analyses and graphics. 

·        It is considered to be as useful if not better than SPSS or SAS

 Why don’t we just use SPSS or SAS since the University provides it for free on its computers?

 ·        If you just plan on using University computers for the rest of your life than that can work.  But what if you want to use your own computer or if you are working/interning somewhere that won’t let you move their data off of their computer, what will you use then?

·        SPSS and SAS are expensive programs and require yearly patches to continue working after its initial purchase.  You don’t really buy the software as rent it from year to year.  SPSS has a special student price, but you can’t use it after you graduate.

·        If you are working for a nonprofit or other small organization, expecting them to spend thousands of dollars on software per year may not be very sustainable.  That same amount could be used to provide direct services or develop other goods. 

 So how do I install it?

·        The first step is to download the latest version.  Case Western Reserve hosts a depository that you can access it and other needed packages (more on that later).

o   GO to and click on the version for your system (window, mac, or linux) and install it onto your system using the direction provided.

o   Once installed, run the program you should see this.

 ·        Next, make sure that you have java installed on your computer, if you don’t have it or don’t know got to and find the right version for your system.  If you have a 64 bit computer, make sure you have the 64 bit version of java.  This program will be needed to run the Graphic User Interface (GUI) that we will be using.

 ·        We will be using the Deducer GUI to work with R.  It’s not necessary, but it will be easier to work with for beginners.

 o   At the top of the R program you should see an option for Packages, click on that.

o   You should see an option for Install package(s), click on that.  You should be given a list of cran mirrors.  Scroll down and look for USA (OH) option.  Click on that and hit OK.

o   Next, you should see a list of Packages.  Scroll down and look for Deducer.  Click on that and hit OK.

o   That will install Deducer and any related package.

o   Once finished, go pack to Packages and look for Load package(s) and then click on it.  You will be given a list of packages available.  Look for Deducer and click on it, and then click OK.  The program will attach itself and you will see additional options available on the tool bar after Help on the right.  You should see Deducer, Data, Analysis, and Plots.  If you do that means that its installed and ready to go. 

 The next part will cover inputing data and simple statistics.

Faculty/Student Collaboration Examining the Affordable Care Act

A student (Jesper Zuber) and I at Baldwin Wallace University are conducting a study examining the Affordable Care Act.

Understanding People’s Beliefs and Experiences with Health Insurance and The Affordable Care Act

If you are over the age of 18 and live in Ohio, we would like to know how you feel about the Affordable Care Act and how it is affecting your life. Please take a moment to answer the survey, all responses will be confidential. You can access the survey from any computer, tablet, or smartphone using this link:

We are especially interested to hear from those between the ages of 18-26.

For your participation you will be given an opportunity to enter your email into a drawing to win a $50 gift card to (three prizes will be awarded). Your email will not be linked with your survey responses in any way. If you have any questions please contact:  Emilia Lombardi, PhD at (440) 826-2243 or