Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD

Associate Professor | Co-Director of Child Psychology Emphasis
UC Box 
HPC-2, Room 255

Roles and Interests

  • Clinical supervisor for practicum students at the Pacific Psychology Clinic – Child Team
  • Supervise thesis and dissertation research

Clinical and Research Interests

Gender identity issues, including issues related to gender non-conformity and transgenderism; disorders of sexual development; eating disorders and obesity with an emphasis on children and adolescents; prevention/early intervention of eating disorders and obesity, including focus on body image


  • PhD, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, 2004
  • Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 2003
  • BA, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore., 1997
  • Pre-doctoral Internship, Montana State University, Bozeman & Crow/Northern Cheyenne Hospital, Crow Agency, Mont., 2003-2004
  • Postdoctoral Internship, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., 2004-2005


Professional Memberships

  • Member of American Psychological Association Task Force developing treatment guidelines for working with transgender individuals
  • World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), co-chair of Child/Adolescent Committee
  • APA, Division 44 (LGBT) and 54 (Pediatric Psychology)
  • Society for Pediatric Psychology

Selected Recent Publications (*denotes student author)

Edwards-Leeper, L., & Spack, N. P. (2012). Psychological evaluation and medical treatment of transgender youth in an interdisciplinary “Gender Management Service” (GeMS) in a major pediatric center. Journal of Homosexuality, 59 (3), 321-336.

Spack, N. P., Edwards-Leeper, L., Feldman, H.A., Leibowitz, S., Mandel, F., Diamond, D.A., & Vance, S. R. (2012). Children and adolescents with gender identity disorder referred to a pediatric medical center. Pediatrics, 129 (3), 418-425. 

Spack, N. P., & Edwards-Leeper, L. (2011). Medical treatment of the transgender adolescent. In M. Fisher, E. Alderman, R. Kreipe, & W. Rosenfeld (Eds). American Academy of Pediatrics.

Edwards-Leeper, L., & Spack, N. P. (2011). Gender identity disorder. In M. Augustyn, B. Zuckerman, & E. B. Caronna (Eds.), The zuckerman parker handbook of developmental and behavioral pediatrics for primary care (3rd ed., pp. 229-233). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Selected Recent Presentations (*denotes student author)

Edwards-Leeper, L. (2012, August). Assessing gender identity in adolescents for possible medical intervention. Gender Odyssey Professional Seminar, Seattle, Wash. 

Edwards-Leeper, L. (2012, March). Interdisciplinary collaboration with psychologists in providing recommended treatment for transgender adolescents seeking medical intervention. Pediatric Endocrinology Association for Research and Learning (PEARL), Tacoma, Wash.

Leibowitz, S., Spack, N., Edwards-Leeper, L., & Mandel, F. (2011, September). Gender-variant and transgender youth: A model for an interdisciplinary, collaborative treatment program in an academic children’s hospital. Panel presentation at the World Professional Association of Transgender Health Conference, Atlanta, Ga.

Edwards-Leeper, L., Coletti, K., Cella-Mowatt, A., Huntington, N., & Cox, J. E. (2011, May).Parent-child discordance surrounding psychosocial characteristics associated with childhood obesity. Poster presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Conference, Denver, Colo.

Edwards-Leeper, L., & Spack, N. P. (2010, August). Psychology's role in the new recommended treatment for transgender youth. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, San Diego, Calif.

Edwards-Leeper, L., Cella-Mowatt, A., & Cox, J. (2010, May). Parents of overweight children: Common concerns other than weight. Poster presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Conference, Vancouver, Canada. 

Spack, N. P., & Edwards-Leeper, L. (2010, April). Creating a safe and supportive school environment for the gender dysphoric student: Counseling, testing, and medical interventions. Lesley University, Division of Counseling & Psychology Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences, Cambridge, Mass.

Edwards-Leeper, L. (2010, February). Feminism meets medicine: Implementing an empowerment model for treating underserved overweight children in primary care. Paper presented at the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) Conference, Portland, Ore. 


Edwards-Leeper on 60 Minutes

Pacific University Psychology Professor Laura Edwards-Leeper told a 60 Minutes interviewer she fears that some physicians approve gender transition treatments without sufficient examination. 


The Vice interview was just the most recent example of the way journalists and others have turned to Edwards-Leeper to help interpret gender issues affecting young people, such as those considering changing the gender identities they were assigned at birth.

Graduate Psychology Professor Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD was quoted in an article published by the Economist, "An English ruling on transgender teens could have global repercussions" (paywall).

Edwards-Leeper is an expert in gender identity issues and her research covers issues related to gender non-conformity and transgenderism."

Laura Edwards-Leeper, professor of psychology, was featured in an Economist article on gender dysphoria and the growing number of transgender children cases.

Laura Edwards-Leeper, professor of psychology, was recently featured in an article about gender dysphoria on The Economist.