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The UCLA Gender Health Program
In the News

The UCLA Gender Health Program are at times the subject of stories in newspapers, magazines, and journals, and also issue news releases to keep the community informed on the latest programs and services available at UCLA. We include here a collection of recent stories and an archive of older articles.

We proudly share that the UCLA Gender Health Program care coordination team is the recipient of a Cultural North Star Team Award.

GHP Admin Team

This award recognizes the teamwork that serves as the cornerstone of the collaborative environment at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA as well as the mission of the Cultural North Star initiative - Do What's Right. Make Things Better. Be Kind. 

The care coordination team awarded the Cultural North Star Team Award includes (pictured left to right) Ethan Patron, care coordinator, Kristen C. Williams, program manager and population health research manager, Chris Mann, founding program manager, and Ellisone Punzalan, administrative specialist.

Media Coverage and Other News

Insights from a community survey on gender-affirming hormone therapy with estrogen By developing a survey guided by community input, UCLA researchers lay the groundwork for more effective hormone therapy trials tailored to gender-diverse individuals seeking estrogen treatment. The survey was distributed online to individuals interested in gender-affirming hormone therapy. Over 1200 people responded. The top treatment goals included improving life satisfaction, appearing more feminine and enhancing mental health. The most desired physical changes were reducing facial hair, altering breast shape or size and modifying body shape. However, there was substantial variation in patient-centered goals. For example, while changing scalp hair patterns was the feature most frequently rated as “low priority” or “lowest priority,” almost 60% of individuals still rated it as “highest priority” or “high priority.” Participants also emphasized the importance of future research comparing different methods of estrogen administration for feminization. These findings highlight the diverse goals and experiences of those seeking gender-affirming hormone therapy. They underscore the need for future clinical trials to be closely aligned with the preferences and needs of the gender-diverse community. Read more in the case study published February 5, 2024 in the Journal of Hormones. UCLA Health Lab Notes

Celebrating Pride Month With Mental Health in Mind. Dr. Natalia Ramos, medical director of UCLA's EMPWR clinic, provider for the Gender Health Program, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry in the division of population behavioral health and psychiatrist at UCLA Health, was interviewed by AHA about celebrating Pride Month with mental health in mind. 

Lactation induction in a transgender woman A new study looked at the nutritional quality of milk produced by lactation induction with positive findings. Induction of lactation refers to using specific methods and medications to stimulate the production of breast milk in someone who is not carrying a pregnancy. The ability to produce breast milk can have important benefits, including bonding with the child, providing optimal nutrition, and promoting the health of both the child and the breastfeeding parent. For transgender women and nonbinary people on estrogen-based hormone therapy, being able to produce one’s own milk can also be a significant gender-affirming experience. While previous case studies have described induced lactation in transgender women, this study additionally evaluates the nutritional quality of the produced milk, and includes the participant's perspective in her own words. The participant in this study successfully induced lactation through a combination of medication therapy, breast pumping and eventually direct breastfeeding. Analysis of the participant's milk showed robust nutrient levels, similar to those seen with lactation following pregnancy. The findings suggest that the milk produced by non-gestational transgender women and nonbinary people on estrogen-based hormone therapy is nutritionally adequate for their infants, and highlights the importance of this experience on a personal level. Read more in the case study published May 3, 2023 in the Journal of Human Lactation. 

Health policies on gender-affirming care Within the United States, access to gender-affirming surgeries covered by health insurance has increased over the past decade. However, the rapidly changing landscape and inconsistencies of individual state health policies guiding private and public insurance coverage present a lack of clarity for reconstructive surgeons and other physicians attempting to provide gender-affirming care. A study, led by Dr. Justine Lee, Bernard G. Sarnat Endowed Chair in Craniofacial Biology in the UCLA Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, looked at the current policies in the United States regarding health insurance coverage for gender-affirming care. Researchers analyzed policies from each state and found that about half of the states had protective policies for gender-affirming care, while a number of states restricted state health insurance coverage for gender-affirming care, despite federal law prohibiting gender discrimination under the Affordable Care Act. There were also regional differences, with the Northeast and West having more protective policies and the Midwest and South having more restrictive policies. The findings suggest that clear and consistent policies are important for healthcare providers care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. Read the study published April 25, 2023 in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Feminizing rhinoplasty Findings from UCLA investigators in a new study emphasize the importance of tailoring rhinoplasty to individual patients' needs and gender identity to alleviate gender dysphoria effectively. Read the study published April 2023 in FACE. UCLA Health Lab Notes

Facial feminization surgery for the chin A new study led by UCLA researchers highlights various techniques used in genioplasty, a procedure to reshape the chin, such as surgical incisions and bone adjustments, and provides an updated understanding of how chin feminization is performed in transgender women and non-binary individuals. Read the study published in March 2023 in FACE. UCLA Health Lab Notes

How Transitioning Transformed These Men's Sex Lives. Men’s Health interviewed Dr. Amy Weimer, medical director for the UCLA Gender Health Program, about how transitioning can transform men’s sex lives.

Gender-affirming hormones tied to mental health for transgender youth. Transgender and nonbinary teens who receive gender-affirming hormones experience improvement in body satisfaction, life satisfaction and less depression and anxiety than before treatment. These findings are according to newly-published research by a four-site prospective, observational study and co-authored by Marco A. Hidalgo, PhD. Dr. Hidalgo is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Read the study published January 19, 2023 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Gender affirming surgery in nonbinary patients UCLA research sheds light on the diverse treatment preferences and needs of nonbinary patients and underscores the importance of individualized care in gender health. UCLA physician scientists conducted an analysis of 375 patients with gender dysphoria – 67 (18%) identified as nonbinary. Read the study published January 2023 in Archives of Plastic SurgeryUCLA Health Lab Notes. 

After facial feminization surgery, transgender people report better psychosocial health. According to research led by Dr. Justine Lee, UCLA’s Bernard G. Sarnat Professor of Craniofacial Biology, the procedure is important for the treatment of patients with gender dysphoria. UCLA Health reports on the study published in the journal Annals of Surgery. 

Rochester native Chloe Corcoran honored by Los Angeles Dodgers at Pride Night event. USA Today covers Chloe's story.

LGBTQ+ Youth Health Town Hall: Experts answer your questions. Amy Weimer, MD, medical director of the UCLA Gender Health Program, joined ABC7 News for an LGBTQ+ Youth Health Town Hall. "Affirmation of identity in the home is really important...and then of course, having good access to mental health care including therapy and possibly medications is key...It's hard for many families to find providers who are knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ experiences," says Dr. Weimer. Watch the Town Hall.

The role of UCLA's Gender Health Program reported. USC Center for Health Journalism reported on the role of UCLA Health’s Gender Health Program in the Jeff Gottlieb family, and how the program helped support their transgender daughter.

COVID-19 and beyond: What’s on the Biden administration’s health care agenda? UCLA Health experts weigh in on what they hope to see as the new president takes office. Amy K. Weimer, MD, co-founder of the UCLA Gender Health Program, wants to see the federal government ensure access to gender-affirming care for transgender people. Read more.

Feminizing Hormone Therapy and What You Need to Know. Insider interviewed Amy Weimer, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine – Pediatrics and co-director of the UCLA Gender Health Program, about feminizing hormone therapy, the medications, body effects, and health risks.

COVID-19 Research Award. The UCLA Gender Health Program has been awarded funding to assess the experiences of trans and gender-diverse individuals’ ability to access medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This patient population is particularly vulnerable to healthcare disparities, which has been compounded by the pandemic. The ultimate goal of this research study is to develop strategies for intervening in moments of crisis to improve access to care and mitigate negative impacts for our trans and gender-diverse patients. The grant was received from the David Geffen School of Medicine COVID-19 Oversight Research Committee, charged with coordinating all UCLA research aimed at addressing this public health crisis. Dr. Mark Litwin, Chair of UCLA Urology and Co-Director of the GHP, is the Principal Investigator.

HHS rollback of protections for transgender people could make it harder to provide care. Heather Hitson, SOGI Project Manager at UCLA Health, and Dr. Amy Cummings, the informatics chair of the Equitable Care Committee at UCLA, spoke with Healthcare IT News about their years-long project to include information related to gender identity and sexual orientation in patients' electronic health records. Read more.

The Shortcomings of Transgender Health Care. The Elemental featured Amy Weimer, MD, medical director of the UCLA Gender Health Program, in an article about the health care disparities faced by people who are transgender. Read more.

Q&A: Why the LGBTQ+ community is at greater risk from COVID-19. UCLA’s Kathryn O’Neill discusses how pre-existing health conditions, poverty and discrimination create a volatile mix. Read more in UCLA Newsroom.

Navigating LGBTQ Health. The celebration of Pride Month has focused a spotlight not only on the important voices and critical progress made by the LGBTQ+ community but also on issues that still must be addressed to create a more inclusive, equitable and supportive society.  Read more.

On the Road to Health Care Equality. Many LGBTQ+ patients struggle to find sensitive and compassionate health care. UCLA is working to change that. Read the feature article in the Winter 2020 issue of U Magazine.

eHealthcare Leadership Award. UCLA Health received a Platinum eHealthcare Leadership Award at the 22nd Annual Healthcare Internet Conference for our UCLA Gender Health program website. This awards program recognizes the very best websites, digital communications, and business improvement initiatives of a wide range of healthcare organizations. More information.

UCLA Gender Health Program Staff Participates in September 2019 USPATH Conference. Chris Mann, program manager for the UCLA Gender Health Program, attended and presented a poster at the 2nd United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH) Conference that was recently held in Washington DC. USPATH is an off shoot from the larger World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) organization that sets the standards for transgender and gender diverse health care across the world. Health care providers, mental health specialists, university and community health organizations discussed the state of transgender and gender diverse health care in the U.S., as well as shared new research and ideas that seek to benefit care delivery for the transgender and gender diverse communities.

UCLA Health Recognized as a Leader in LGBTQ+ Patient Care. All four UCLA hospitals were recognized for a commitment to LGBTQ-centered care. Read more in UCLA Newsroom.

What Could Happen if the Federal Government Redefined Gender? Dr. Amy Weimer, co-director of the UCLA Gender Health Program, is quoted in TIME magazine. Read more.

Feminizing Facial Surgery Gives Mental Boost to Transgender People. Transgender patients who get gender-affirming surgery to create more feminine facial features say it's a big boost to their mental health, reports a new study led by Dr. Justine Lee, associate professor of surgery at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Health Day and Plastic Surgery Practice cover the story.

How to Reduce the Mental Health Risk for Gender-Nonconforming Kids. Dr. Natalia Ramos, one of the founders of the UCLA EMPWR program is quoted on fostering a safe and supportive culture for LGBTQ+ children in our schools and community. Read more.

UCLA Health celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility. March 31 marked the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), a date to recognize the strength and contributions of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and to raise awareness of societal and health challenges faced by this community. Read more.

Los Angeles Lakers Pride Night. Caring For and Supporting You. The UCLA Gender Health Program is proud to have supported our partner, the Los Angeles Lakers, in celebrating Pride Night. We support U!

LA Pride Blog Posts
•  “UCLA Health is inclusive & totally fabulous”
•  “The energy is crazy”
•  “Just be U”

UCLA Health celebrates National Coming Out Day. KNBC-TV reported that the UCLA Gender Health Program celebrated National Coming Out Day on October 11 at an event hosted at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Christopher Mann, care coordinator of the UCLA Gender Health Program, was featured.

Even with health insurance, lesbian, gay and bisexual adults are more likely to delay medical care. A UCLA study analyzes rates of insurance coverage in California, access to healthcare and healthy behaviors. Read more.

Finding an LGBTQ-friendly doctor in Los Angeles. An article in LAist about finding an LGBTQ-friendly doctor in Los Angeles referenced UCLA Health and its list of “LGBTQ+ Champions,” physicians with special expertise in LGBTQ+ care. Read more.

UCLA study finds that 27 percent of California adolescents are gender nonconforming. A new UCLA study finds that 27 percent, or 796,000, of California’s youth, ages 12 to 17, report they are viewed by others as gender nonconforming at school. Read more.

Survey provides insight into demographics and health of California’s transgender adults. Data also show another year of statewide health insurance gains, now at risk under potential federal funding changes. The first release of transgender data from the California Health Interview Survey, the nation’s largest state survey, reveals the demographic characteristics of transgender adults in the state — such as population size, racial makeup and marital status — as well as sobering disparities in their health status. Read more.

UCLA Health Earns National Recognition for LGBTQ+ Care. UCLA Health has been named a leader in equitable care for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, gay, transgender or queer. In its annual Healthcare Equality Index released March 29, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation identified each of UCLA Health’s four hospitals as a “Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality.” Read more.

Caring for Transgender Patients. When transgender individuals seek medical care, confusion on the part of medical professionals may be the first reaction a trans patient receives. It’s important for medical professionals to understand that one’s gender identity as man, woman or trans is different from one’s sexual identity as gay, bisexual, lesbian or heterosexual. Gender identity and sexual identity are two separate domains, say experts who are trying to better prepare health care providers to treat trans patients. Read more.

Student leads effort to improve LGBTQ+ health care. Is it possible for a gay man to practice medicine? The answer seems obvious, but sadly, there was a time when Michael Haymer, a third-year UCLA medical student, really wasn’t sure. “I remember Googling the words, ‘Can a gay man be a doctor,’” said Haymer, who at the time was a struggling Orange County high school student. Having experienced rejection and discrimination from his peers after telling close friends that he was gay, he wondered if the disapproval and rejection he was experiencing would follow him as he pursued his professional calling. Read more.

Statement in Support of Transgender members of the UC community. The University of California, in accordance with state law and in keeping with its own principles of nondiscrimination, will continue to ensure that its transgender students, faculty and staff have unrestricted access to restrooms that conform to their gender identities. We are heartened to hear that protecting all students, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, remains a stated priority for the Department of Education. Read more.