PHOTO: Meredith Klepper

Meredith Klepper

Meredith Klepper, MS, RN, CPN (they/them/theirs) is the recipient of the Isabel Hampton Robb Scholarship. They are currently a 3rd-year PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) and have concurrently earned a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Public Health Certificate from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Meredith earned a Bachelor of Science at University of Maryland School of Nursing in 2006 and a Master of Science in Health Science Leadership & Management with a focus in Education at University of Maryland School of Nursing in 2014.

As a pediatric registered nurse, Meredith observed the enduring effects of childhood experiences on their patients at all developmental stages. These observations, coupled with a personal drive to reduce health disparities for the LGBTQ+ community, sparked an interest in research centered on the health and well-being of transgender and gender diverse individuals. Meredith’s dissertation study, entitled Interpersonal Protective Factors, Symptom Self-management, and Mental Health among Black Transgender Women: A Mixed-Methods Study, expands upon those interests and examines how interpersonal protective factors at the family and community level and health self-management are associated with psychological distress symptoms among Black transgender women.

At Johns Hopkins University, Meredith has been engaged in research focused on the health of Black transgender women, LGBTQI+-based nursing educational initiatives, and enriching experiences beyond the required curriculum to strengthen their position as a researcher and leader in their chosen field. At Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, they have served as the Curriculum Chair of the PhD Student Organization, Student Chair of the LGBTQI+ Health Initiative (LHI), and is the President of the LHI Student Group. In these roles, Meredith has organized fundraisers for trans-led wellness centers in the Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. area and collaborated with faculty, students, and alumni on several projects related to the LGBTQI+ Health Initiative, including a curriculum evaluation tool called the Tool for Assessing LGBTQI+ Health Teaching (TALHT), a review and qualitative descriptive analysis of LGBTQI+ content within textbooks in the Master’s Entry in Nursing program at JHSON, and a project currently in progress to create faculty training video modules to better prepare nursing faculty to deliver inclusive and comprehensive LGBTQI+ content.

This scholarship from Nurses Educational Funds will provide critical support that will allow Meredith to achieve their goal of becoming an expert in LGBTQI+ health and a faculty member at a research-intensive nursing school. Their clinical expertise, teaching experience, research skills, and life experience as a proud queer and nonbinary person provide a strong foundation to support their future research career goals. The Isabel Hampton Robb Scholarship will provide new possibilities for the scope and impact of Meredith’s work and they will express their gratitude by committing to a community-engaged, strengths-based program of research as well as through teaching, mentoring, and supporting future generations of nurses.

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