Even Paglisotti, PhD ’25 (they, them) is a second year doctoral student in SBS interested in social and structural determinants of gender and sexual minority mental health. Even was awarded a 2021 Rose Learning Service Fellowship to fund their summer project with SAYFTEE to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention for parents and caregivers of trans youth, and support the larger SAYFTEE mission to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for youth and young adults to discover the most authentic version of themselves. Prior to starting their doctoral work, they completed their MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and worked as a Data Analyst Coordinator at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Congratulations on your Rose Service Learning Fellowship award! Could you tell us more about your project with SAYFTEE?
Thank you! My fellowship project with SAYFTEE included multiple parts. I worked with Dr. Sabra Katz-Wise and clinicians at SAYFTEE to evaluate the effectiveness of the Trans Teen and Family Narratives Toolkit, an intervention for parents and caretakers of trans youth. I also supported sexual and gender minority individuals and caregivers who were referred to SAYFTEE for care through resource connection and by building data systems necessary to conduct a needs assessment. I also collaborated with clinicians on youth programming and events.
What has inspired you to work with transgender and nonbinary youth and their caretakers?
My experiences as a trans community member initially inspired me to begin working in transgender healthcare. The more research I read, the more urgency I felt to address the mental health disparities I saw both in the data and in experiences with my peers. After attending my first trans health conference, a mentor asked me to consider what primary prevention for gender minority youth’s mental health disparities should look like. In pondering this question, I thought of the importance of parents and caregivers as advocates for transgender and nonbinary young people, and I have been working to find ways to support trans and nonbinary youth and families since. Working with Dr. Katz-Wise and SAYFTEE through the Rose Service Learning Fellowship was an incredibly meaningful experience to me as a researcher and as a trans person.
Do you have any advice for future students and postdoctoral fellows participating in the Fellowship?
Think of this as an opportunity to dream collaboratively. When I started drafting my proposal, I had ideas for my project, but after discussions with SAYFTEE’s co-directors before and after submitting my proposal, my project had grown and shifted in ways I could not have anticipated. As a result, I got to meet the most emergent needs of the organization and engage in service learning at the same time. Being flexible created opportunities for me to connect with community members in ways that humbled me, stretched my comfort zone, and made me feel deeply proud and honored to serve my community.
What stands out to you as the most memorable experience so far during your doctoral studies?
So much about starting my doctoral studies in the middle of a pandemic has been memorable! I continue to be amazed by and grateful for the support I have received from my advisor, mentors, professors, fellow students, and administrators, especially in these unprecedented times.
What excites you the most about the 2021-22 academic year?
Meeting people in person and seeing the inside of the Chan school has been thrilling! I’m also excited to take some electives that I can imagine applying directly to my dissertation research, and teaching my own section of incoming students as a teaching assistant.