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Children's Philadelphia gender clinic co-founder says she conducts research on homeless youth

"We recruited folks from a variety of places across the city of Philadelphia, in our own HIV clinic and gender clinic as well as at Covenant House and in some other community-based organizations and aid services organizations that serve young trans women in Philadelphia," said Dowshen.

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Addressing the National Institutes of Health, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) Gender Clinic co-founder Naida Dowshen revealed that she recruited research subjects from a youth homeless shelter.

"We recruited folks from a variety of places across the city of Philadelphia, in our own HIV clinic and gender clinic as well as at Covenant House and in some other community-based organizations and aid services organizations that serve young trans women in Philadelphia," said Dowshen, noting that the group also tried to recruit people through social media. 



"And I just want to take a moment to talk about research methods when it comes to young trans women and recruitment. And I was recently having a conversation with colleagues about this that many times, people would think that we could find young trans women for them to participate in research in similar ways that we might find young gay and bisexual men who are at risk for HIV through the dating apps, like things like Jacked and Grinder.

"But it's really important to remember that these young women that we're talking about are a very different population in a lot of ways and that we may not find them in the same ways, and so we did try to do some recruitment through social media, through places where we know that young trans women might be engaging in survival sex or sex work, such as Backpage or Craigslist," she added. 



A slide that appeared as Dowshen was talking revealed that the subjects they were looking for were biological males between the ages of 16 and 24, who identify as women, and who are either HIV positive or reported having anal sex with a male partner in the last year.

According to documents obtained by Megan Eileen, Dowshen provides general adolescent medical care at Covenant House, a youth shelter located in Philadelphia.

CHOP also runs a "CHOP Connection" clinic within the shelter site, which is staffed during the weekdays to meet "the physical, mental, and behavioral health needs of our youth," according to the shelter’s website.

"Homelessness impacts young people’s physical and mental well-being in many ways, and because youth are still developing cognitively, physically, psychologically, and emotionally, those impacts can have deep effects. This is even more the case for young people of color and those who identify as LGBTQ, who face unique challenges associated with racism and prejudice," the website states.

"Covenant House welcomes all young people facing homelessness with unconditional love and absolute respect and provides them access to a range of health and well-being services that they can use to heal and rediscover their potential. Our trauma-informed, resilience-focused programs and services range from medical care at our on-site health centers to yoga classes, music lessons, counseling, religious and spiritual services, and sports. In these activities, young people retake control over their lives, build on their strengths, and nourish their self-confidence."



According to Eileen, this clinic is funded through Title X of the Public Health Service Act.

In a published report titled "Internet and Social Media Access Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Mixed-Methods Study," Dowshen and five other researchers note in the acknowledgements section that the Covenant House Pennsylvania allowed them to conduct research.

The study was looking at social media usage amongst homeless youth, with a central focus on how to reach these youths to stop adverse outcomes.

CHOP has come under fire after it was revealed that the hospital provides medicalized gender transitions for minors, including through surgical or pharmaceutical means.
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CHOP co-founder

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