Chair, US Regional Network
Dr. Austin (Chair, US Regional Network) is a cisgender ally to the transgender community who engages in clinical practice, advocacy, and research aimed at promoting well-being for transgender and gender nonconforming people and their loved ones. Dr. Austin is currently a Full Professor of Social Work and the director of the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice at Barry University in Miami, FL.
As a social justice oriented researcher and practitioner, Dr. Austin is committed to engaging in research, training and advocacy that reduces stigma and promotes the well-being of marginalized populations. Dr. Austin’s research has increasingly revolved around promoting transgender-affirmative education, mental health interventions and health care. Dr. Austin is the first author of multiple publications, as well as, local, regional, and national presentations aimed at advancing affirmative approaches to health care and education for transgender children, youth, and adults. She also serves as a consultant on transgender issues across a variety of contexts including the non-profit, primary educational settings, institutions of higher education, medical settings, and corporations.
Dr. Austin is actively engaged in research projects aimed at elucidating the needs and experiences of transgender youth and adults. She works collaboratively with the transgender community to ensure projects are rooted in the lived experiences of trans people and adequately give voice to these realities. These collaborative projects have resulted in numerous publications and presentations to researchers, academics, and medical and mental health professionals which advance understanding of contemporary trans lives and foster trans-affirmative attitudes, behaviors, policies, and practices.
In partnership Drs. Austin and Craig developed and published the Transgender-Affirmative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TA-CBT) model, an adapted, affirmative version of CBT which targets the specific mental health care needs of transgender clients. This model represents the first of its kind to integrate a transgender affirmative framework with empirically supported cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to address minority stress and resultant transdiagnositc mental health concerns.
Dr. Austin is also actively involved in creating a community inclusive of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. She brought events such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience, and Transgender Week of Awareness to her university’s campus, and advocates for gender inclusive policies and practices at local, regional, and national levels. Finally, as a licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Austin supports gender diverse youth and adults and their loved ones through a developmentally informed, transgender affirmative practice approach. Her clinical work focuses on supporting transgender and gender nonconforming youth and their family members on their unique gender journey toward fully authentic and connected lives.