- Shoba Ramanadhan
- Madina Agénor
- Davine Holness
Research Project Description
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender minoritized (LGBTQ+) youth of color are experiencing a mental health crisis, and their needs have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, LGBTQ+ youth of color are much less likely than white and non-LGBTQ+ youth to access mental health care due to racism, heterosexism, and cisgenderism. Community-based organizations (CBOs) are prime actors to fill this gap, as they have extensive reach and trust in communities. They have also developed innovative strategies to better connect mental health programs with the needs of the youth they serve.
Unfortunately, CBOs' rich practice-based expertise is often ignored or discounted. To change that pattern, we will explore the tailored, scalable strategies CBOs use to promote mental health among LGBTQ+ youth of color. We will also examine how CBOs customize these strategies based on laws and policies related to structural racism and anti-LGBTQ+ stigma in their state.
We will conduct a three-part qualitative study focused on CBOs serving LGBTQ+ youth of color.
- Phase 1: We will conduct a case study of Boston GLASS, a leader in this area, to explore the range of tailored strategies the organization uses to promote mental health in the context of structural racism, heterosexism, and cisgenderism.
- Phase 2: We will interview staff of 32 CBOs regarding how they tailor programming to meet clients' mental health needs. We will draw on diverse states in terms of laws and policies related to structural racism and anti-LGBTQ+ stigma, using datasets developed by the team.
- Phase 3: We will develop prototypes of dissemination products for the practice-based strategies, e.g., worksheets and tip sheets. We will "pressure-test" these products by sharing them in roundtables with CBO practitioners, once more ensuring representation of CBOs from states with diverse law and policy environments related to structural racism and anti-LGBTQ+ stigma.
Shoba Ramanadhan is a behavioral scientist who focuses on participatory approaches to implementation science in CBO settings. She has spent 15 years working with CBOs to integrate research- and practice-based evidence to address health inequities. She has become deeply grounded in Culture of Health approaches over the last five years, serving as Co-Investigator on two Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants that examined the potential for the business sector to support community health and well-being advance health equity.
Madina Agénor is a social epidemiologist who examines health inequities among adolescents, young adults, and adults, especially in relation to sexual orientation and heterosexism, gender identity and (cis)sexism, and race/ethnicity and racism. She studies intersectionality and has expertise in conceptualizing and measuring structural racism in the context of health equity research and with guidance from Critical Race Theory.
Davine Holness is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, who has worked with young people for over 10 years, with 5 years focusing on LGBTQ+ Youth of Color. She implements person-centered care and prioritizes culturally competent service provision. She also brings lived experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and as a person of color.