Research Focus:Suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth
A love for learning is what drew Dr. Lindsay Taliaferro to the world of academia. She describes how she always enjoyed school, particularly when she started taking courses in Psychology as an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech University. Though she did not find her field of public health right away, she learned from all her experiences and eventually found her current focus. She earned an MS in Sports Management from Florida International University, MPH in Public Health Education from the University of South Florida, and PhD in Health Behavior from the University of Florida before making her way to UCF.
Taliaferro came to the UCF to help build the Department of Population Health Sciences in the College of Medicine. At the university, she enjoys researching what she is most passionate about—suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. She is inspired by seeing successful researchers making a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of adolescents, particularly those in such marginalized groups. She also appreciates her supportive colleagues and collaborators, along with the great students with whom she works. She currently mentors medical students conducting research and serves on thesis committees for students from several different departments.
As for her research, Taliaferro emphasizes the importance of her field of study. “Suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death for adolescents, and LGBTQ youth demonstrate up to three times greater risk of suicidal behavior than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts,” she says. Therefore, much of her research seeks to identify and strengthen protective factors that may prevent and reduce suicide risk among LGBTQ youth to reduce mental health disparities among this population.
Recently, Taliaferro received the Women of Distinction Award for Faculty Excellence award, for which she feels honored and appreciates the recognition of her work. She also won the College of Medicine Early Career Investigator Award for Achievement in Research earlier this year. In addition, she has been awarded grants from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as well as from the UCF Office of Research and College of Medicine for her meaningful work.
Her advice to students is that they should find something they really enjoy doing to remain passionate and motivated and create opportunities to work with supportive mentors and collaborators.
- College of Medicine Early Career Investigator Award for Achievement in Research, 2021
- Awarded grants from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and UCF Office of Research and College of Medicine
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