Dr. Dana Prince's Active Research

Intersection of Foster Care Involvement and Sexual and Gender Minority Status: The Impact of Social Support on Youth Mental Health and Resilience Study

In partnership with Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, and local community-based agencies including the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, and the YWCA A Place for Me, this NIH-funded pilot study examines rates of anxiety/depressive symptoms, self-harm, and suicidality as well as the sources of chronic stress that may be associated with these symptoms and sources of social support that may serve as protective factors for sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth with current or previous foster care involvement in Cuyahoga County, OH.

Meet the Team

Meagan headshot

Meagan Ray-Novak is a doctoral student at the Mandel School of Social Sciences. She earned a BA in Sociology in 2004 and MSSA with a concentration in Community and Social Development from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. Meagan brings over eight years of direct practice experience in community-based psychiatric treatment, private practice and integrated health care. Her clinical practice treats those suffering from addiction, eating disorders and survivors of complex trauma. Most recently, Meagan led the development of an integrated behavioral health-primary care team and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program in a federally-qualified health center in Cleveland to provide holistic care for those experiencing homelessness. Meagan’s interests include implementation science of trauma treatment and the provision of evidence-based intervention with vulnerable populations. She works with Dr. Prince on the pilot study investigating psychological comorbidities and social support among sexual and gender minority youth with current or past foster care involvement as a study coordinator and interviewer.

Jaime Fuentes headshot

Jaime Fuentes is an MSSA candidate with a concentration on mental health. Jaime has worked in the social work field for several years with experience in substance use treatment, refugee resettlement, and behavioral support with a focus on family dynamics. Jaime is in the final year of his graduate studies and is looking forward to putting his direct practice skills to use with this dynamic population as an interview in the pilot study for LGBTQ youth with foster care involvement.

Leah Love headshot

Leah Love is a MSSA candidate with a concentration in Children, Youth and Families. She has experience working at Frontline Services as a caseworker for the Bridges to Housing department and Judge Nancy R. McDonnell Community Based Correctional Facility as a mental health caseworker. She has a passion in facilitating change and helping others in crisis. She is excited to be working as an interviewer on the LGBTQ foster youth pilot study.


Emily Peterson headshot

Emily Peterson is a post-baccalaureate in the lab of Dr. Amy Przeworksi, Co-Investigator on the LGBTQ youth pilot study. Her research interests include the development, maintenance, and treatment of internalizing disorders across the lifespan. Emily is especially interested in the factors that contribute to anxiety and depression in members of diverse populations, particularly in racial/ethnic minority and LGBTQ individuals. It is her ultimate goal to increase understanding of the unique and intersectional experiences of people from marginalized groups in order to more effectively tailor interventions. Emily is an interviewer on the LGBTQ youth pilot study.

Madeline Hodgman headshot

Madeline Hodgman earned a BA in History from UMass Amherst in 2016, and is a current second-year MSSA student concentrating in Adult Mental Health. Before graduate school, Maddy wrote a thesis on the history of American sex education, and worked as a GED tutor and outreach coordinator at an alternative education program for young moms. Her first year field placement was at WomenSafe, Inc., where she developed her clinical skills in trauma-informed assessment and crisis intervention. She is also a regular social work volunteer at Circle Health Services’ Student-Run Health Clinic, doing psychosocial assessments and brief interventions in an integrated behavioral health setting. Currently, Maddy is part of the HRSA/BHWET fellowship program at MetroHealth Medical Center as a member of the HIV team. Her interests include post-traumatic resilience and social determinants of health. Maddy works as Dr. Prince’s research assistant.