Fall 2018

Trans teens' health


After completing a doctorate in counseling psychology at Howard University, Nic Rider wanted to do a postdoctoral fellowship focused on people who are transgender or gender nonconforming (TGNC). But finding a place to do it wasn’t easy. Then, Rider discovered the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Human Sexuality. 

Rider became the first recipient of the Randi and Fred Ettner Fellowship in Transgender Health, joining a team investigating wide-ranging concerns for TGNC youth. 

“It’s really important to have people who identify with the community doing this work,” says Rider, who brings a rare perspective: that of a genderqueer researcher. “I’m grateful this was even possible.”

Rider has been studying health care utilization among TGNC youth. Using data from the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey of 80,000 teens, Rider found TGNC youth sought health care less often and suffered higher rates of mental health and long-term medical problems than other youth. 

To find out why, Rider interviewed 12 transgender teens and 14 health care providers. The teens shared stories about facing discrimination and feeling disrespected in health care settings. The providers described their lack of training for treating TGNC youth and an openness to learning more. 

Now an assistant professor in the Program in Human Sexuality, Rider plans to develop training for health professionals who work with TGNC individuals. 

Learn more about Nic Rider's work.