Director of Graduate Studies
Kristen Mark is the Joycelyn Elders Endowed Chair for Sexual Health Education and Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, as well as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Human Sexuality Certificate. Her research centers around sexual well-being, specifically the maintenance of sexual and relationship satisfaction and sexual desire in long-term relationships, sexual function and dysfunction, sexual trauma, and sexual desire discrepancy. Dr. Mark holds degrees in psychology, family science, biostatistics, and public health. Her research has been published in top journals in the field and she has presented her work through hundreds of talks nationally and internationally.
Kat Arenella, PhD, did her graduate training in clinical psychology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where her research focused on women's health and aging. Prior to the Program in Human Sexuality, she worked as a Psychology of Women intern at the Charlie Norwood VA and Medical College of Georgia. She worked with military sexual trauma and was part of the comprehensive DBT team. Dr. Arenella's research and clinical interests are focused on sexual satisfaction and aging, especially in the context of relationships.
Leonardo Candelario-Perez, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, sexual health consultant, and provider under Urology and Gynecology, as well as gender specialist for Health Partners and co-educational consultant for the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health. Dr. Candelario-Perez completed their doctoral degree at Albizu University in their home country of Puerto Rico, and completed a clinical postdoctoral program at the Program in Human Sexuality, U of M. Dr. Candelario-Perez is currently working on developing an integrative sexual health practice within the Health Partners’ system. Their clinical areas of work are in sexual dysfunction, sexual pleasure, sexual and gender identity, LGBTQI+ sexual health, STIs and sexuality, and desire discrepancy.
Taymy Josefa Caso, PhD, is the Randi and Fred Ettner Postdoctoral Fellow in Transgender Health in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health and a researcher at the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Caso holds degrees in counseling and clinical psychology from New York University and Columbia University, Teachers College. Their research focuses on minority health disparities, intersectionality, identity-based marginalization within LGBTQ+ BIPOC communities, gender and sexual fluidity, and social determinants of health. Their advocacy work utilizes decolonizing pedagogy to deconstruct institutional and systemic barriers to equity and develop community-based interventions for under-served communities.
Abby Girard is an assistant professor and coordinator of the Relationship and Sex Therapy Program. She was the second Michael E. Metz postdoctoral fellow at the Program in Human Sexuality, U of M. Her clinical training has included psychotherapy experience in community counseling centers, outpatient sexual medicine clinics, and treating individuals and couples in private practice. Dr. Girard’s areas of interest include sexual health and functioning, sexual desire discrepancy, compulsive sexual behavior, gender and sexual identity development, couples/relationship intimacy concerns, sexual trauma/abuse recovery, and social justice advocacy. She received her MA from the University of San Diego and her PsyD in from Alliant International University, both in Marital and Family Therapy.
Sonya Laddon Rahders
Sonya Laddon Rahders, JD, is an attorney in California, where she does state policy and regulatory work on issues of health care access, public insurance, and provider support, with an emphasis on reproductive health. She has additional experience working at the federal level on sex education policy, HIV awareness, youth rights, and LGBTQ health access in Washington, DC. Prior to her legal career, she worked for several years in environmental nonprofit administration and human resources, and volunteered as a youth sexual health educator. She earned her JD (UC Hastings College of the Law) and a BA in Sociology & Gender Studies (UCLA).
Nic Rider is assistant professor and coordinator of the Adult Transgender Health Services Program. They were the first Randi and Fred Ettner Postdoctoral Fellow at the Program in Human Sexuality. Dr. Rider’s clinical training includes psychotherapy and assessment experiences in a university counseling center, hospital settings, private practice, community clinic, residential treatment, and juvenile justice settings. Dr. Rider is interested in gender and sexual identity development, intersections of identity, discrimination and microaggressions, sexual trauma/abuse recovery, and social justice advocacy. Dr. Rider is on the executive board for the Asian American Psychological Association’s Division on LGBTQQ Issues. Dr. Rider received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Howard University.
PhD, MD, MPH, MHPEd, MSt, Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education
Michael Ross is a faculty member in the University of Minnesota Program in Human Sexuality. He holds 11 degrees in cross-cultural health psychology, criminology, public health, and health education. Ross has studied sexuality and sexual and mental health for more than 30 years in India, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. He has practiced as a clinical psychologist and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society. In addition to publishing more than 500 scientific papers and books, Ross was a coauthor of the Surgeon General’s 2001 Report of Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior.
Katie Spencer is an assistant professor, licensed psychologist, codirector of the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, and director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Program in Human Sexuality, U of M. Her clinical practice focuses on transgender and gender nonconforming adolescents and adults, women’s sexuality and sexual health, and LGBT sexuality and well-being. She trains therapists and medical providers in sexual health and transgender health care. She is the founder and chair of the Minnesota Transgender Health Insurance Taskforce. Dr. Spencer received her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a postdoctoral fellow in human sexuality at the Program in Human Sexuality.
Jennifer A. Vencill
Jennifer A. Vencill, PhD, is an assistant professor, licensed psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist at the Mayo Clinic, where she practices in the Menopause and Women's Sexual Health and Transgender and Intersex Specialty Care clinics. Her clinical interests include sexual health and functioning, sexuality and aging, gender and sexual identity development, couples/relationship concerns, alternative relationship models, and LGBTQ mental and sexual health. Dr. Vencill’s research interests include health disparities and minority stress in marginalized sexual and gender communities, mixed orientation relationships, and sexual health. Dr. Vencill received her PhD in counseling psychology from Texas Tech University and was the first Michael E. Metz Postdoctoral Fellow in Couples' Sexual Health at the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality.
Margo has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit and arts communities and believes in building relationships between disciplines and demographics to create more equitable opportunities for learning and advancement. She has served as Director of Member Services at Donors Forum, where she led professional development programming and networking for grant makers. She is the founder of Playable Artworks, a sponsored project of Springboard for the Arts, chaired the Gender Equity Committee at the Chicago Storefront Summit, and has developed equity and sensitivity procedures. Margo holds a BA from Grinnell College and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and she was a Fulbright Fellow at the Moscow Art Theatre School.