Trans health leader our newest mentee

Meet Associate Professor Ada Cheung: the Academy’s latest Associate Member and an endocrinologist with a passion for improving the health of trans people.

Associate Professor Cheung was selected for the Academy’s Mentorship Program, where she will be supported by an experienced Academy Fellow for the next three years.

“I am keen to seek new insights and further expertise to support my professional growth, so that I can best expand my clinical trials work to maximise impact, drive policy change and manage disinformation and anti-science attacks,” she said.

“I fell into this area in 2015 after a colleague told me endocrinologists at our hospital were refusing to see transgender people.

“I knew nothing about trans people at the time, but I did have a staunch passion for equity driven by my personal experiences of misogyny, racial discrimination and marginalisation due to my family circumstances."
Associate Professor Ada Cheung
Trans Health Research Group Leader

“I started treating trans people with my colleague, listened to hundreds of stories and realised that there was a large unmet clinical need, a dearth of evidence to guide care, and significant barriers to health – including a suicide rate three-fold higher than the general population.”

These driving factors led to the creation of the Trans Health Research Group, which Associate Professor Cheung leads at The University of Melbourne.

Her research has had significant impact, leading to the development of new gender clinics and models of care, a statewide training program for health professionals, and guidelines on hormone therapy and the inclusion of trans people in sport.

“Driven by community need, we undertake co-created clinical trials and observational studies to improve and understand the best methods of providing gender affirming hormone therapy; improve healthcare delivery, and improve mental health and wellbeing,” Associate Professor Cheung said.

“My group has rapidly grown since it was established seven years ago, and we have had much impact, but we also face many challenges.”

“These challenges include external political barriers such as co-ordinated anti-trans and anti-science groups internationally who look to discredit our messaging, regardless of the science or evidence base.”

To help combat this misinformation, Associate Professor Cheung is a committed science communicator, engaging with mainstream media, social media and international federations.

Her work in this area was recognised with a Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Public Engagement Award in 2022.

Applications for the next intake to the AAHMS Mentorship Program close 31 March. Find more information on the program website.

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