Abstract: This talk examines two key areas in transgender health research to investigate the limitations of reliable methods when faced with incomplete data. Everhart poses two core questions using the US as a case study to illustrate what can be done to account for incomplete data and insufficient methods and still draw meaningful conclusions. First, Everhart asks where trans-specific medical care is available. Research on availability and spatial accessibility of healthcare often relies upon publicly available datasets prepared by state and federal agencies. However, when this data is lacking or incomplete for transgender care, existing methods for quantifying access are insufficient. To combat this dearth of data Everhart turns to community-facing resources and qualitative methods to construct a spatially enabled database of healthcare facilities that provide trans-specific medical care. Second, Everhart analyzes subsamples from two population level surveys, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the more recent Household Pulse Survey (HPS). Using the BRFFS and HPS data Everhart estimates the potential size of the transgender population in the US while also highlighting some limitations to understanding the full picture of geographic and racial diversity as well as potential intracommunity health disparities. Studies one and two together offer a picture of both supply and demand for transgender-specific medical care. In the final portion of this talk Everhart offers preliminary results and discuss limitations from a third study which quantifies the geographic accessibility of transgender-specific health services. Ultimately, Everhart concludes that 1) methodological innovation is needed to identify and address the healthcare needs of transgender and other marginalized communities, 2) some quantitative work may emphasize cutting edge methodologies at the expense of meaningful insight from research and 3) learning to address the needs to transgender communities can enable us to better meet the needs of everyone.
Bio: Avery Everhart is a PhD candidate in the Population, Health & Place program housed in the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. She works at the intersection of health informatics, geographic information systems, and demography with a particular emphasis on the health and human rights of transgender and gender diverse communities. Everhart co-founded the Center for Applied Transgender Studies where she is also an editor of their Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies, and she co-chaired the Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health’s “Converging Crises” conference. Her work can be found in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Annals of Epidemiology, Social Science & Medicine, and Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.