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Featured Student

Kinnon Ross MacKinnon

What’s your program and specialty/subject matter of focus?

I am a second-year PhD student in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences (SBHS) stream. While I am engaged with health equity issues for LGBTQ communities broadly, my program of research specifically investigates barriers to mental health care services experienced by transgender/transsexual/transitioned persons.

For instance, my doctoral project, generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, will apply Foucauldian analyses in order to understand the ways in which gender-variance is pathologized by medical institutions.

Why are you studying public health/health policy?

I believe that the field of public health has been integral to addressing population health inequities which exist for marginalized communities within Toronto, Canada, and the global context.   The Dalla Lana School of Public Health connects students with faculty members, administrators, and community stakeholders whose expertise are vital to making sustainable social change in the area of health.

Why did you choose to study at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health?

I chose to study at the DLSPH for its proximity to the Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health research group, led by faculty member Dr. Lori Ross.  Dr. Ross and her team focuses on integrating community-based approaches to health equity research, with a particular goal of understanding how LGBTQ people experience physical and mental health.

What are some current projects or research that you’re involved in?

I am currently conducting a systematic review on physical activity interventions for LGBTQ persons with Dr. Paul Gorczynski at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Additionally, I am co-writing a theoretical manuscript on LGBTQ-related microaggressions within the field of social work with two other doctoral students.

Passionate about equity in sport as a public health issue, I coach Special Olympics athletes in powerlifting. I am also an advocate for LGBTQ-inclusion in sport and athletics and have been named the Canadian Director of the first international LGBTQ powerlifting federation.  Similarly, I was recently interviewed in the University of Toronto news about sexual and gender diversity within sporting culture in connection with the upcoming PanAm/Para PanAm Games.

What would you say to a prospective student who is considering the School?

While undertaking doctoral studies is a personal decision, I can say confidently that my experiences at the DLSPH have been overwhelmingly positive.  After working in health research for several years in between completing my Master of Social Work and beginning the program, I did feel hesitant about such a big undertaking.  However, as soon as I arrived for orientation week, met my colleagues, and listened to guest lectures from world-class researchers and scholars in the field of public health, I knew I was at the right place.