Faculty Advisor

Dionne Stephens

Author Biographical Statement

Shaileen Barberena is a senior at Florida International University double majoring in Biological Sciences and Natural and Applies Sciences. She has been working under the guidance of Dr. Dionne Stephens at the Culture, Context, Health & Identities Research Lab since Spring of 2021. Shaileen has worked under graduate students as a research assistant on multiple projects and recently presented her collaboration project at FIU’s Undergraduate Research Conference. She aspires to attend medical school and continue sociological research to expand her cultural knowledge as a physician.


Barriers to healthcare access are apparent in minority groups including ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual minorities. Most of the barriers experienced by these groups are centered on discrimination, cost, and lack of cultural competence which, in effect, leads to physical and mental health disparities. Multiple studies have reported the health concerns of gender diverse people, but few have discussed the concerns of gender diverse people who also identify as Hispanic/LatinE. As immigration rates continue to rise and gender minorities become more socially acceptable, the health concerns of this population become increasingly difficult to ignore. This proposal aims to answer the following research questions for Hispanic/LatinE gender minorities: 1) What physical health concerns are important to address? 2) What mental health concerns are important to address? Previous studies have suggested increasing education on gender identity for healthcare workers. Improving education within these services would result in greater gender affirming care while also aiding in closing the health disparities of these groups. Implementing support groups and increasing discussion is also necessary for improving the mental wellbeing of this population. Further research is needed to determine the importance of ethnicity in this population’s wellbeing. We predict physical health concerns will be largely focused on ethnic identity, and mental health concerns will be largely focused on gender identity. We propose recruiting Hispanic gender nonconforming participants for one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Coding methods for data analysis would reveal themes for health concerns specific to gender diverse LatinE individuals.