We invite you to join our collaborative partners for their next Current Issues in LGBTQ Health lecture featuring Kirsten Simonton, MD!
This lecture will be on Thursday, December 7th from 12:00-1:30 pm in the Stonewall Conference Room of 625 N. Michigan Suite 1400. This lecture is being co-sponsored by The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN).
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Abstract: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are reported to be overrepresented in the foster care system, which studies suggest may be related to increased rates of family rejection or disapproval. Rejection related to sexual or gender identity, as well as involvement in child welfare, places these youth at greater risk for many negative outcomes including mental health challenges, substance abuse, lower rates of family permanency, and higher likelihood of multiple foster placements and homelessness. Understanding the physical and mental health risks in this population is critical for providers to inform best practices in the medical and child welfare settings. Emerging child welfare practices are emphasizing early identification, safety in the foster care setting, and a focus on permanency. Ongoing work is needed to ensure appropriate medical and mental health care, elimination of discriminatory practices, and supports for families of origin to move toward acceptance.
Dr. Simonton (pronouns: she/her/hers) joined the Child Abuse Division faculty at Lurie Children’s Hospital in December 2016, and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She completed residency training in pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC in 2012, and remained there as Chief Pediatric Resident during the 2012-2013 academic year. She then completed fellowship training in Child Abuse Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she developed a particular interest in the health of children in foster care. She has led clinical research and quality improvement projects in the Foster Care Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with specific focus on the LGBTQ population. She has obtained grant support from the American Academy of Pediatrics to support her clinical initiatives, and has presented her work at national academic meetings. In fellowship, she was involved in a collaboration led by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to end LGBTQ youth homelessness in greater Cincinnati. She has particular interests in process improvement, and interventions designed to improve the lives of children who have experienced trauma or marginalization.