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TP headshotDr. Tonia Poteat, PhD, MPH, PA-C, DFAAPA, is featured this month as the December 2020 SGM (Sexual & Gender Minority) Health Researcher Spotlight.

See below for highlights and read the full interview here on the SGMRO website. 

“Q: What organizational challenges have you faced?
A: As one of the earlier researchers in transgender health, it was initially hard to get funders to pay attention to the unique research needs of this community. I’m happy to see that has changed with time and lots of advocacy by many people over the years.

Q: What advice do you have for trainees and researchers who want to work in this area or are interested in applying for NIH funding?
A: I recommend always engaging and partnering with community members and/or community organizations. They can help guide your research so that you are addressing issues that really matter to the people most affected by them. As for NIH funding, finding mentors with experience writing NIH grants and time to provide detailed feedback is invaluable. And persist! It can take multiple submissions before you get funding, but if you believe in your project, don’t give up.

Q: Do you have any specific advice for working with and involving SGM populations in research?
A: Be trustworthy, dependable, and truly care about the people involved in your research studies. It will come through in your work and make it better.

Q: Who inspires you?
A: In the research world, I am deeply inspired by the work of Lisa Bowleg and the work of Nancy Krieger. In the non-research world, my mother inspires me to continue to grow and learn and do my part to build a better future.

The Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) Researcher Spotlight web feature was launched in June 2020. These spotlights highlight both successful early and established NIH-funded investigators in the field of SGM health research. This feature is in an interview format, and explores pathways to and provides guidance for building a successful career in this field of inquiry.

Dr. Poteat is an Assistant Professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC), core faculty in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research, clinical preceptor for the Gender Affirming Clinic at UNC’s Student Health Action Coalition, and a Physician Assistant in the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic. Her research, teaching, and clinical practice focus on HIV and LGBTQ health with particular attention to the role of intersectional stigma in driving health disparities.

Dr. Poteat previously served as a member of the Sexual and Gender Minority Research Working Group of the NIH Council of Councils.”