Research Collaborators

Current Collaborators

Audrey KohAudrey Koh, M.D. is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is a clinician in private practice of obstetrics and gynecology, where she has helped hundreds of lesbians, single women, gay men and heterosexual couples strategize and then proceed to conception, pregnancy care and creation of their families. She on the active attending staff of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and also serves on the Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Dartmouth Medical School.

She has conducted research on a wide range of topics within women's health: from comparing preventive health behaviors of women of different sexual orientations, to efficacy trials of vaccines against the Human Papillomavirus. She has received numerous awards, such as the Outstanding Clinician Award from the UCSF Lesbian Health & Research Center; Outstanding Teaching Awards from the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; and Top Doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area and America's Top Doctors.

Dr. Koh has been active in a range of community organizations. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Horizons Foundation (the first LGBT community foundation in the world) based in Northern California. She serves on the National Advisory Council of the Lesbian Health & Research Center at UCSF. She was previously the Board Co-Chair of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, having served on their board of directors for eight years. She served on the board, including as Vice President, of Lyon Martin Health Services (a community health clinic founded to serve lesbian and bisexual women in San Francisco); the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association board (national); the Breast Cancer Risk Survey Advisory Board (California), as well as leadership on the parent associations of Marin Country Day School and currently at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Audrey and her wife, Gaeta Bell, are raising two sons in San Francisco.


Esther RothblumEsther Rothblum, Ph.D. is Professor of Women's Studies at San Diego State University and LGBTQ Studies advisor. She is editor of the Journal of Lesbian Studies as well as Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society. Her research and writing have focused on LGBT relationships and mental health as well as on the stigma of weight. Esther has edited 27 books, including The Fat Studies Reader and Preventing Heterosexism and Homophobia. Esther has compared lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals to their heterosexual siblings, as well as transgender to cisgender siblings. There has been little research on sexual orientation and gender identity that uses appropriate comparison groups. An ongoing longitudinal project compares same-sex couples who were united in a civil union during the first year this legislation was available in the U.S. (in the State of Vermont, July 2000 to July 2001) with their same-sex coupled friends who did not have civil unions, and with their married heterosexual siblings. Her research team focused on demographic and relationship information, presence of children, social support from friends and family, conflict, and mental health. Esther is also interested in ways that women connect with each other in non-sexual ways. She has edited the books Lesbians Ex-Lovers, Lesbian Friendships, and Lesbian Communities and is currently studying asexuality.


Nicola CaroneNicola Carone, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences at University of Pavia, Italy. He is also a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. His research interests focus on parenting, attachment, and child development in LGBTQ+ parent families, and evidence-based attachment interventions (VIPP-SD, CONNECT). In 2016, Dr. Carone was Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Family Research at University of Cambridge, U.K., and in 2017 he obtained his Ph.D. at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. In 2018, for his thesis entitled, "Surrogacy families headed by gay men: Children's psychological adjustment, gender-typed play behavior, attachment security, and views on their surrogacy origins," he won the Doctoral Thesis Prize awarded by the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP). Currently, Dr. Carone is Vice-President and Treasurer of the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS) and Committee member of the SRIP. His ongoing research projects include a longitudinal study on gay father surrogacy families with children in middle childhood, a study on single parents through assisted reproduction, a study on lesbian mother families formed using partner eggs, and a study on socialization practices about family diversity in same-sex parent families. In 2020, Dr. Carone joined the NLLFS team.


Gabriël van BeusekomGabriël van Beusekom, Ph.D. received his master's degree in Child Development and Educational Sciences at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in 2013. After graduation, he worked as a Ph.D. student and teacher at the University of Amsterdam. Dr. van Beusekom wrote his dissertation about risk and protective factors for the mental health of sexual minority and gender non-conforming youth. He obtained his Ph.D. on October 11th 2018. Currently, Dr. van Beusekom works as a researcher for the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) where he coordinates social policy research on LGBT health. His research focuses on how minority stress processes and general risk factors influence the mental health of LGBT adolescents and adults.


Other project staff:

Amy BanksAmy Banks, M.D. is a senior research scientist at the Jean Baker Miller Institute and the Wellesley Centers for Women. Dr. Banks is the creator of the C.A.R.E. Program which combines Relational-Cultural Theory, relational neuroscience and the rules of neuroplasticity into program to help individuals use their brains to improve their relationships. The C.A.R.E. Program is featured in her 2015 book, Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships. Dr. Banks co-edited The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women published by Beacon Press in 2004. Additionally she has written numerous articles on the treatment of childhood trauma including a popular manual, "PTSD: Relationships and Brain Chemistry," published as a project report through the Wellesley Centers for Women. Dr. Banks lectures throughout the country on the neurobiology of relationship. Dr. Banks collaborated on the NLLFS between 1987 and 2007.


Amalia DeckAmalia Deck, RN, MSN worked as a research associate and administrator on the NLLFS from 1997–2014. She is a registered nurse at the San Francisco General Hospital Birth Center since 2004.


Naomi GoldbergNaomi Goldberg, MPP is the Policy and Research Director at the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). Prior to joining MAP, Ms. Goldberg was a public policy fellow at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Her research focuses on how laws and policy impact the LGBT population, including families, people of color, and older adults.

Ms. Goldberg received a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College. Her work has been published in Policy Matters, Michigan Journal of Public Affairs, Tax Notes, and the Journal of Family Theory & Review. Ms. Goldberg collaborated on the NLLFS from 2009-2015.


Heidi PeyserHeidi Peyser, MA, NLLFS collaborator from 2001–2009, and Executive Director from 2007–2009, holds a degree in LGBTQQ psychology, and has been a reviewer for the Journal of Lesbian Studies. She is a member of her local LGBT youth center's advisory board, providing strategies for outcome measurement. She currently coordinates cross-system technical assistance initiatives to improve the foster care system and to connect youth to employment. Ms. Peyser and her wife are raising twin sons.


Carla Rodas and childrenCarla Rodas, MPH is a teacher and academic advisor at PACE Center for Girls, Palm Beach, Florida. PACE is a community-based, gender-responsive prevention, diversion and early intervention program serving 12- to 17-year-old girls. Ms. Rodas has a graduate degree in public health from San Diego State University. She worked with the NLLFS from 1994-2012. Her other research interests include adolescent reproductive health.


Sue Thiemann, M.S. served as statistical analyst and consultant to the NLLFS from 1990 to 2006. Ms. Thiemann received her BA from Harvard University and her master’s degree in statistics from Stanford University.


Loes van Rijn-van GelderenLoes van Rijn-van Gelderen, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is currently working on an international project, "Gay Father Families: the Development of Early Parent-child Relationships," in collaboration with researchers from University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and University Paris Quest (France).

Dr. van Rijn-van Gelderen collaborated with the NLLFS from 2007–2017. She wrote her first master's thesis based on preliminary data from the fifth wave of the NLLFS. After Dr. van Rijn-van Gelderen received her master's degree in Educational Sciences at the University of Amsterdam in 2009, she worked as a Ph.D. candidate at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, as well as a teacher at the College of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam. For her dissertation entitled, "Adolescents in Planned Lesbian Families in the U.S. and the Netherlands: Stigmatization, Psychological Adjustment, and Resilience," Dr. van Rijn-van Gelderen was awarded a Ph.D. from the Department of Child Development and Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Amsterdam. Her dissertation was drawn from the NLLFS and from the Dutch Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (DLLFS).