Pitt Psychiatry at the 2021 TransPride Pittsburgh Health and Wellness Conference

The annual TransPride Pittsburgh Health and Wellness Conference, held over three days in October, addressed the theme Rising to the Challenge—a dual meaning intended to encourage professionals to meet the needs of the trans community, as well as to elevate the voices of community members. 

The conference included trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming speakers, as well as cisgender speakers who were encouraged to include community voices or co-presenters. Presentations addressed health care needs of the gender diverse community, transition and de-transition, research, advocacy, legal issues, gender diversity, best practices, and cultural competencies when working with transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse or intersex persons, and/or their caregivers.

“This conference is important because it is presented by a trans-led community organization committed to putting trans voices at the center of the discussion about trans people’s interactions with the medical establishment,” said Morgan Faeder, MD, PhD (Assistant Professor of Psychiatry), a conference course director. “The focus is on the needs of trans individuals while also fulfilling the needs of providers for better information on how to serve this community.”

Dana Rofey, PhD, (Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and Assistant Professor of Psychology) also served as a TransPride course director. “This annual conference is always one of my favorites to attend. It presents an opportunity for the community to be heard and for the providers to listen. As the keynote speaker, Naiymah Sanchez of the American Civil Liberties Union said, ‘I am me because of you; this is a we thing.’ Community advocacy needs to drive everything we do.”

Department of Psychiatry and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital (WPH) speakers included:

  • Creating Positive Behavioral Healthcare Experiences in the Black Transgender Community: Demond Bledsoe, PhD, LPC (Senior Program Director, WPH)

  • How to Write a Gender Affirming Surgery Letter: Tamar Carmel, MD (Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry)

  • Letter Writing for Gender Affirming Care: Kristen Eckstrand, MD, PhD (postdoctoral scholar)

  • Being an Accomplice: Advocating for Trans People in Professional Spaces: Morgan Faeder, MD, PhD 

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Overview of the Treatment and Development of an Intensive Outpatient Program for LGBTQIA+ Individuals: Dana Rofey, PhD, and Leyna Bonanno, MS (WPH Behavioral Health Therapist)

Department of Psychiatry WPH course directors and committee members included:

  • Dr. Faeder and Dr. Rofey
  • Kelly O’Toole, MSW, LCSW (Director of Clinical Care Services, Adult Services, WPH)
  • Carol VanZile, LCSW (Director Behavioral Health Regulatory, Compliance and Accreditation/Compliance Officer, WPH)