Evaluating health outcomes of transgender children and adolescents

Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Ken Pang ken.pang@mcri.edu.au +61393455986 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Michelle Tollit michelle.tollit@mcri.edu.au

Summary This research project involves a longitudinal cohort study of transgender children and adolescents, and will allow us to address important questions related to the health of this vulnerable population

Project Details

Referrals of young transgender individuals to clinical services are rising exponentially across the western world. Consistent with this, recent population-based estimates suggest that the prevalence of young people identifying as transgender is ~1%, which is much higher than previously thought. Providing optimal clinical care for transgender young people is critical. A recent community-based survey of 859 Australian trans youth found a significant proportion had been diagnosed with depression (74.6%) and anxiety (72.2%), with 79.7% of respondents reported having self-harmed and 48.1% having attempted suicide. Many of these young people had never accessed gender-affirming health care, and there is increasing evidence that providing supportive clinical care to transgender youth significantly improves mental health and wellbeing.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service (RCHGS) provides care to transgender children and adolescents, and is one of the largest multidisciplinary clinics of its kind in the world. While our team recently released the first ever clinical guidelines specific for transgender children and adolescents – as highlighted by a recent editorial in The Lancet - there is still a lack of good research data to inform
clinical practice in this nascent field.

To address this gap in knowledge, the RCHGS commenced a longitudinal cohort study known as Trans20 at the start of 2017 (Tollit et al., BMJ Open, 2019). Trans20 aims to evaluate the clinical outcomes of individuals receiving care through the service, and has already enrolled >600 patients into the study. Data is collected annually across multiple domains, including gender identity, mental health, physical health, quality of life and family functioning.

This rich dataset offers a tremendous opportunity for interested PhD students to address important questions in the field of transgender health. In particular, candidates with an interest in transgender health, and a background in psychology, paediatrics, psychiatry, or endocrinology are encouraged to apply.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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