Jae Puckett Receives Transgender Research Award from APA

July 27, 2022 - Emily Jodway

Jae PuckettCongratulations to Dr. Jae Puckett on receiving the 2022 Transgender Research Award from the Society of Sexual Orientation, Division 44 of the American Psychological Association. 

The APA’s Division 44 focuses on the diversity of human sexual orientations and gender identities by promoting relevant research and education in the pursuit of social justice. The Society aims to further educate the public on sexual and gender diversity with hopes to enact change on public policy and advance the health and well-being of those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

The Transgender Research Award highlights and honors research that makes a notable contribution to this goal of understanding, health and well-being of transgender people and gender diversity in society. Dr. Puckett earned the recognition based on their most recent research area surrounding minority stress in transgender and gender diverse communities. 

“Minority stress refers to the unique challenges that marginalized groups experience in addition to the general stressors that everyone may endure,” Pucket said. “For example, anyone may be stressed about challenges with their boss at work or with their colleagues, but a trans person may also face discrimination, harassment or bias from others at their job.”

The Minority Stress Model was created with lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals who were cisgender in mind. Dr. Puckett and their team are developing new measures to help address this gap, building on prior research gained from intensive data collection on the experiences of transgender and gender diverse people and the stressors that emerged in their lives. 

“The hope is that these measures will help ensure that further research better reflects the lives of transgender people, rather than treating their experiences as equivalent with people who are cisgender and gay, lesbian or bisexual,” Puckett explained. 

Dr. Puckett is heavily involved in several areas of LGBTQ+ research on campus. They are a member of the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health, one of the thematic research areas within the College of Social Science. 

They are also the director of Trans-ilience: The Transgender Stress and Resilience Team, and Sexual and Gender Minority Specialty Services at the MSU Psychological Clinic. The community-engaged research team focuses on further study of minority stress as well as resilience and mental health in transgender and gender diverse communities. The team is made up of undergraduate and graduate students and is advised by a board made up of local community members who assist in guiding the team’s research and give feedback throughout. 

“All of our work centers on advancing equality and improving the social conditions in which transgender and gender diverse people are living,” Puckett said.

The team puts many of its efforts into community engagement and outreach activities such as training medical providers and developing educational tools. “I am a firm believer that we do the work we do so that it actually benefits the communities we work with, rather than just being published or presented to academic outlets that most in the community wouldn’t have the means to attend,” Puckett explained. “When I see students take on that passion for making sure that our work reaches the community and makes a tangible difference in the lives of transgender people, that’s what I enjoy the most.”

Dr. Puckett and their team look toward the future with hopes that these newly developed measures for the Minority Stress Model can eventually be put to use within a larger study. “The next step is to evaluate how these unique stressors, as well as other resilience factors, impact health outcomes for transgender people over time,” Puckett explained. 

Most recently, Dr. Puckett also received the 2022 David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the Society of Clinical Psychology from Division 12 of the APA. 

Read more about the APA’s Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity here.