Johanna Olson, MD is an Adolescent Medicine physician specializing in the care of gender non-conforming children and transgender youth. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson has been an Assistant Professor at Children's Hospital Los Angeles for the past nine years. Dr. Olson has been providing medical intervention for transgender youth and young adults including puberty suppression and cross sex hormones for the past six years, and is considered a national expert in this area. Dr. Olson is the Medical Director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, the largest transgender youth clinic in the United States. Dr. Olson has appeared frequently on national television, and spoken all over the country to educate providers, parents, and other communities about the needs of transgender youth.
Gender non-conforming children, transgender adolescents and young adults
Chicago Medical School
Children's Hospital of Orange County
Children's Hospital of Orange County
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Adolescent Medicine 2003, 2013
Society for Pediatric Research, World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
The Champion Award - The Division of Adolescent Medicine; CHAMPION FUND 5000 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles
Recognition Award for Outstanding, Compassionate and Innovative Service - SoCal Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Regional Chapter, Los Angeles
Anne Marie Staas Ally Award - Stonewall Democratic Club; 1049 Havenhurst Drive #325, West Hollywood
Extraordinary Service Award - Equality California, 202 W 1st St., Suite 3-0130 Los Angeles
Clinical Research Academic Career Development Award - Saban Research Center TSRI Program: Community Health Outcomes and Intervention, Los Angeles
Health Care Advocacy Champion - Democratic Advocates for Disability Issues, Los Angeles
Olson-Kennedy J, Mental Health Disparities Among Transgender Youth: Rethinking the Role of Professionals, JAMA Pediatr. 2016 May 1;170(5):423-4. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0155 PubMed Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26998945
Olson-Kennedy J, Cohen-Kettenis P. T., Kreukels B.P.C, Meyer-Bahlburg H.F.L, Garofalo R, Meyer W, Rosenthal S.M., Research Priorities for Gender Nonconforming/Transgender Youth: Gender Identity Development and Biopsychosocial Outcomes, Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2016 Apr;23(2):172-9. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000236. PubMed Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Research+Priorities+for+Gender+Nonconforming%2FTransgender+Youth%3A++Gender+Identity+Development+and+Biopsychosocial+Outcomes
Olson J, Forbes C, Belzer M. Management of the transgender adolescent. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Feb;165(2):171-6. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.275. Review. PubMed PMID: 21300658. PubMed Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Management+of+the+transgender+adolescent++Olson
Olson J, Garofalo R. 2014. The peripubertal gender-dysphoric child: puberty suppression and treatment paradigms. Pediatr Ann. 43(6):e132-7. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20140522-08.
Olson J, Schrager S, Belzer M, Simons L*, Clark L. Baseline physiologic and psychosocial characteristics of transgender youth seeking care for gender dysphoria. Journal of Adolescent Health, July 2015 doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.04.027 PubMed Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.+Baseline+physiologic+and+psychosocial+characteristics+of+transgender+youth+seeking+care+for+gender+dysphoria
Olson J, Schrager S M., Clark L F., Dunlap S L., Belzer M. Subcutaneous testosterone: an effective delivery mechanism for masculinizing young transgender men, LGBT Health. September 2014, 1(3): 165-167. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2014.0018. Pub MedLink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Subcutaneous+testosterone%3A+an+effective+delivery+mechanism+for+masculinizing+young+transgender+men
Schrager SM, Olson J, Beharry M, Belzer M, Goldsich K, Desai M, Clark LF. Young men and the morning after: a missed opportunity for emergency contraception provision? 2014. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. doi: 10.1136/jfprhc-2013-100617. [Epub ahead of print]
Belzer ME, Naar-King S, Olson J, Sarr M, Thornton S, Kahana SY, Gaur AH, Clark LF; Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions. The use of cell phone support for non-adherent HIV-infected youth and young adults: an initial randomized and controlled intervention trial. 2014. AIDS Behav. 18(4):686-96. doi: 10.1007/s10461-013-0661-3.
Simons L, Schrager SM, Clark LF, Belzer M, Olson J. Parental support and mental health among transgender adolescents. 2013. J Adolesc Health. 53(6):791-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.019. Epub 2013 Sep 4.
Lujan-Zilbermann J, Warshaw MG, Williams PL, Spector SA, Decker MD, Abzug MJ, Heckman B, Manzella A, Kabat B, Jean-Philippe P, Nachman S, Siberry GK; International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group P1065 Protocol Team. Immunogenicity and safety of 1 vs 2 doses of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine in youth infected with human immunodeficiency virus. 2012. J Pediatr. 161(4):676-81.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 22.
Gender-nonconforming youth, transgender adolescents and young adults
Transgender children and adolescents are a poorly understood and a distinctly understudied population in the United States. The limited available data suggest that transgender youth who are gender dysphoric (persistently distressed about gender incongruence) are at increased risk for negative mental and medical health outcomes including anxiety, depression, HIV acquisition, suicide, and substance use compared to their peers. Therefore, medical intervention is aimed at alleviating gender dysphoria and ameliorating potential negative outcomes.
Johanna Olson, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, works closely with gender nonconforming children and adolescents to find ways to help them thrive.
Existing strategies for treating transgender youth depend on the developmental stage at which these youth present for care. For those transgender youth that present for care in the early stages of pubertal development, treatment is aimed at suppressing their endogenous puberty in order to avoid the development of undesired secondary sexual characteristics that intensify the distress associated with gender incongruence. For those youth in later stages of puberty, the goal of treatment is to use cross-sex hormones in order to induce the development of desired secondary sexual characteristics that bring the body into closer alignment with the youth's internal sense of gender.
New Research Initiatives
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine emphasized a clear need for the development of evidence-based and rigorous research aimed at understanding the health implications of hormone use in transgender individuals.
Olson has initiated a clinical research study that will evaluate the impact on mental health, psychological well-being, physiologic parameters and bone health as well as document safety of hormones administered for puberty suppression; and another to evaluate impacts on a group of youth in later stages of pubertal development to assess the impact of cross-sex hormones for gender transition.
The study networks four academic sites around the country (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/University of Southern California, Boston Children’s Hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago/Northwestern University, and University of California San Francisco) with dedicated transgender youth clinics to conduct a multi-site observational study examining the physiological and psychosocial outcomes of existing medical treatment protocols for transgender youth with gender dysphoria.
This multi-center study will be the first in the U.S. to evaluate longitudinal outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth and will provide essential evidence-based data on the physiological and psychosocial effects and safety of treatments currently used for transgender youth.