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Johanna L Olson-Kennedy, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
CHL Mail Stop 2 Off Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 361 3128


Johanna Olson, MD is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Medical Director of the hospital’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development. She specializes in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has appeared on ABC's 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Dateline NBC and The Doctors to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth.

Research Interests:
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. Gender-nonconforming youth are emerging at increasingly younger ages, and those experiencing gender dysphoria are seeking medical care at the onset of puberty, or sometimes even before. Youth with gender dysphoria are at high risk for depression, anxiety, isolation, self-harm, and suicidality at the onset of a puberty that feels wrong. 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.


Olson-Kennedy J. Mental Health Disparities Among Transgender Youth: Rethinking the Role of Professionals. JAMA Pediatr. 2016 May 1; 170(5):423-4. View in: PubMed

Olson-Kennedy J, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Kreukels BP, Meyer-Bahlburg HF, Garofalo R, Meyer W, Rosenthal SM. Research priorities for gender nonconforming/transgender youth: gender identity development and biopsychosocial outcomes. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2016 Apr; 23(2):172-9. View in: PubMed

Olson J, Schrager SM, Belzer M, Simons LK, Clark LF. Baseline Physiologic and Psychosocial Characteristics of Transgender Youth Seeking Care for Gender Dysphoria. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Oct; 57(4):374-80. View in: PubMed

Olson J, Forbes C, Belzer M. Management of the transgender adolescent. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Feb; 165(2):171-6. View in: PubMed

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