Research Hero of the Month - December

This month we want to recognise Grace Chugg, an Advanced Speech and Language therapist in our Gender Identity Service

A close up photo of Grace Chugg looking directly at the camera and smiling. Grace has gone above and beyond in her work as an Advanced Speech and Language therapist. Shortly after being appointed to her role at Leeds Gender Identity Service, she secured funding from the NIHR internship programme, enabling her to address a gap in her service area.

Her research is making an invaluable contribution to the management of waiting lists. Over 4,000 people are waiting for an appointment at the gender service, and over 300 are waiting for SLT. Support with gender affirming voice therapy involves a 4/5-year wait. Grace aims to empower people on the waiting list to support their own voice in a safe way and, in turn, support attendance and engagement at SLT appointments.

Grace recently secured a grant through Leeds Arts and Minds, enabling the delivery of an education forum to gather ideas and feedback from those on the waitlist and explore how best to support them. The forum will also provide an opportunity to develop valuable resources. This grant will allow the research to be routed in co-production and will support the wellbeing of those on the waiting list.

Grace says:

“Research is important because it can help manage health inequalities in the NHS. I am passionate about research as I see the small changes that can be made day to day having a significant impact on our patients, and I want to ensure we aim to make big changes to ensure the greatest care is delivered to the Trans and Non-binary community.”