Ayden Scheim

Study program:
Social Epidemiology
Current affiliation:
University of California, San Diego

Ayden is researching how marginalization impacts transgender people’s health in order to find strategies for intervention at the social and policy levels.

Doctoral research

Impacts of Social Exclusion on the Health of Transgender Ontarians: Identifying Strategies To Increase Health Equity

Mr. Scheim has been a leader in the transgender health field for almost 15 years, which ultimately led him to pursue doctoral research in social epidemiology. His dissertation examines the health impacts of social exclusion and discrimination in the transgender population, and strategies for better measuring these complex phenomena. At the same time, he is an active co-investigator on mixed-methods projects related to supervised injection and other health care services for marginalized people who use drugs; measurement of sex and gender in population health surveys; and transgender sexual health.

It is well-documented that stigma and discrimination have detrimental effects on the health of marginalized populations. However, measuring discrimination is far from simple. It is a multidimensional concept that can include anticipation of unfair treatment, experiences of subtle interpersonal slights, and acts of discrimination that are legally actionable under human rights legislation. Moreover, intersectionality theory suggests that individuals who occupy multiple marginalized social identities or positions may be unable to disentangle the bases on which they experience discrimination, as surveys often require them to. Therefore, the first aim of Ayden’s doctoral research project is to develop and validate a multidimensional and intersectional measure of discrimination for use in population health surveys. The second aim of Ayden’s project focuses on the specific manifestations and impacts of discrimination within Ontario’s transgender population. Despite increasing acceptance and human rights protections, transgender Canadians continue to experience profound social exclusion and discrimination. Related to this, they are vulnerable to poorer health outcomes than their non-transgender counterparts, such as HIV and problematic substance use. Drawing on rich survey data from the Trans PULSE Project, Ayden aims to identify modifiable processes of social exclusion that may contribute to these outcomes, in order to inform strategies for social- and policy-level intervention.

Ayden Scheim is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and Research Manager at the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. He holds a Ph.D. (2017) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Western University in London, Canada, where he was a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar. Dr. Scheim investigates the impacts of social, policy, and healthcare environments on the health of stigmatized populations. In particular, his research program involves community-engaged research with transgender populations and people who use drugs, both domestically and globally.   

Dr. Scheim’s doctoral research examined the impacts of discrimination on health behaviours among transgender people in Ontario, Canada, and developed a new instrument for measuring discrimination intersectionally in population health research. He is currently leading the scientific evaluation of supervised consumption services integrated within community health agencies in Toronto, Canada and developing research on the mental health of transgender populations in low- and middle-income countries.