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Graduate student wins award for research in LGBT health education

Jan 11, 2018
Guylaine Spencer

Erin Ziegler

PhD student Erin Ziegler has won a $25,000 award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop a tool to teach nursing and medical students more about LGBTQI2S health. LGBTQI2S stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Two-Spirited. 

Ziegler is excited about this opportunity to help fill a knowledge gap that she has identified in her current research for her PhD thesis in nursing, which explores the delivery of primary health care to transgendered individuals in Ontario.

The CIHR award is called Hacking the Knowledge Gap in Health Research. It’s offered every couple of years. The theme this year is supporting LGBTQI2S health and wellness. Approximately 17 prizes, each worth $25,000, are handed out to researchers.

“As part of my doctoral work, I had identified a huge gap in services to transgendered patients,” says Ziegler. “The subject is not taught, or is taught in a very limited way in nursing programs and in medical school. The purpose of this award is to develop an innovative and effective knowledge translation program.” 

Knowledge translation, or KT, is an important issue in health research today. “KT means getting the information that we learned from our research into everyday practice and clinical practice,” Ziegler explains. “We know that there are different interventions that will improve knowledge for providers, such as of online modules or workshops. So a KT activity would be something like developing an online learning tool that a nursing student, a nurse practitioner student, or a medical student would be able to use to learn about providing care to individuals who identify as LGBTQ. The first thing I’ll do is attend a Design Jam in Vancouver in February where I’ll meet with people from all over the country who do knowledge translation. This will include a website designer, a program designer, etc. I will be working with a team to develop an innovative KT tool to improve health care providers’ knowledge of LBGTQ health.”

Dr. Ruta Valaitis is Zeigler’s supervisor. “This award provides Erin with an opportunity to apply her unique expertise to fill a significant gap in professional education related to care of the LGBT community. Erin has shown incredible creativity, initiative, and commitment in her studies, and as such, this award is extremely well deserved.”

Grant details:

Ziegler, Erin. CIHR: Hacking the Knowledge Gap. Trainee Award for Innovative Thinking to Support LGBTQI2S Health and Wellness. $25,000. Feb 2018-Feb 2019.

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