Dr. Austen earned her doctorate in Health Psychology from East Carolina University. Here and through pre-doctoral experiences, Dr. Austen developed a passion for working with people across the gender spectrum (like people who identify as transgender, gender non-binary, and others). Seeing the inequity in health care in North Carolina, she also developed a passion for creating access to mental health care for the un- and underinsured and people living in rural areas.
To gain competence in working with people who identify as transgender, gender nonbinary (and all those across the spectrum), as well as those diagnosed with difference in sexual development (intersex), Dr. Austen took additional coursework and received specialized supervision. She maintains competence by providing training designed to help others provide competent services and continues to educated herself on the unique needs of the population. She is an author on a fact sheet for parents and caregivers of children who identify as transgender which was developed for the American Psychological Association (although some of the information on it is now outdated). She completed her dissertation on sexual and gender identity development, particularly in how people who identify as "questioning" think about their identities. She earned an award from the American Psychological Association Division for Sexual and Gender Diversity for advocacy and contributions to the transgender and gender spectrum community while she was a student.
She is a member of Rad Remedy and was recently granted membership into WPATH.
She is most rewarded by helping people through life transitions, be they related to their health or their identity, and by working with those who do not have easy access to quality care. Dr. Austen describes herself as warm and welcoming and uses therapeutic approaches that help reveal people's natural strength, and honor their stories and experiences.
Dr. Austen is a queer, cisgender woman. She lives in Durham with her family and their dog, Kip. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time outdoors.
She prefers feminine pronouns: she/her/hers