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Sherman receives grant to fight psychological distress among Black gender minority women
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Shumuriel Ratliff
Dr. Athena Sherman

Dr. Athena Sherman

The NIH National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) has awarded its grant for A Behavioral Intervention to Reduce Psychological Distress Symptoms among Black Gender Minority Women Experiencing Chronic Stigma to Athena Sherman, PhD, PHN, RN, CNE, an assistant professor, tenure track, with Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The K23 Research Project grant provides funding for three years to develop and examine the feasibility of an intervention to improve psychological distress symptom management related to chronic stigma exposure among Black gender minority (GM) women in a community-based setting.

Black GM women in the United States face a nearly universal experience of chronic stigma (i.e., enacted, anticipated, and structural stigma), associated with a disproportionate prevalence of psychological distress symptoms compared to cisgender peers. Psychological distress symptoms, specifically post-traumatic stress (PTS) and depressive symptoms, can be highly debilitating and traditional pathways to care are impeded by widespread barriers to healthcare access and engagement for Black GM women.

The K23 Research Project grant gives Dr. Sherman the opportunity to develop a culturally informed community-based intervention with guidance from community members (via focus groups and theater testing; N=20) to reduce the effect of chronic stigma exposure on psychological distress symptoms (post traumatic stress and depressive symptoms) among Black GM women.

Dr. Athena D.F. Sherman, PhD, PHN, RN, CNE (xe/they/she) is an Assistant Professor (tenure track) at Emory School of Nursing (SON). Xe received a BSN from San Jose State University SON (2015), LGBTQ+ Public Health certificate from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (2019), PhD from Johns Hopkins SON (2019) and completed a post-doc at Emory SON (2021). Sherman’s program of research focuses on improving our understanding of how complex systems of racism, cisgenderism, and heterosexism influence health and health equity for racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minoritized populations, with a focused lens on the impacts of stigma/trauma/violence on mental health among transgender and gender diverse people.

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