Meet your candidates

EPATH invites its members to elect 2 Directors-at-Large to strengthen the EPATH Board. We are looking for two enthusiastic professionals, who are closely and positively involved in transgender healthcare, and who have an open, tolerant and research-minded attitude towards our field, and who will join our current Board.

Below you can find the list of nominated candidates & their personal statement. We invite you to read these carefully. 

All EPATH members (list as of Feb 28 2019) will receive a personal invitation from the WPATH secretary to vote online. You will be asked to rank the candidates to your preference, with a minimum ranking of 3 candidates. Voting is open until April 4th 2019, 5 pm CET. 

The results will be calculated using the Single Transferable Voting system, and the outcome will be announced at the EPATH conference in Rome.

Ersan Arda

I gained my medical degree from Gaziantep University, Turkey. Having completed my residency in urology, I was appointed as a consultant urologist at Tunceli, Turkey. During this period I had the opportunity to complete two internships, gaining specialized knowledge and skills in Endo-urology (Jahn Ferenc Del-Pest, Hungary) and Andrology (Cleveland Clinic, USA). Currently, I am working as an Assistant Professor in Urology with a special clinical and research interest in Genitourinary Reconstruction (gender reassignment) and Andrology at Trakya University Health Center for Medical Research and Practice, Edirne, Turkey.
I was actively involved in professional organizations, including the Turkish-European Society of Residents in Urology (T-ESRU), Turkish Society of Urologic Surgery and European Association of Urology (EAU). 

Transgender Health Care is a very rapidly growing necessity in the current medical climate; however, it is not an easy task to follow with the great number of recent dilemmas in the field, especially in less developed or developing countries. Transgender Health Care in Turkey is a very unknown and ambiguous topic whose evolvement is extremely dependent on investments, research and representation. According to law, medical transition or reassignment surgery is approved by the government. Barely, the regulation requires applicants to receive a psychiatric diagnosis of GD, remove reproductive capacity, and have sex reassignment surgery through investigative matters and compulsory documentation. The Turkish healthcare system and policies related to transition-related healthcare are not well established and have been largely indifferent to the needs of treatment seeking transgender people, causing health disparities, stigmatization, and minority stress. Also, standard curricula for educating and training healthcare professionals and a specialized center that can sufficiently manage their long-term treatment in a professional manner do not exist. Apart from that, according to religious, cultural and/or economic reasons not every patient is able to access such a treatment opportunity. 
Since 2015 I am performing, with a plastic surgeon colleague, gender reassignment surgery in our University Hospital reflecting the largest series of the country with quite satisfying results. However, as you know, surgery is just one part of transgender health care. To provide effective and significant medical assistance, process and progression as well as interaction between disciplines is crucial which reflects one of the biggest problem that we came across during this period. On the other hand, as mentioned before, there are many external factors that inhibit to go further and improve the quality of care, which is not easy to pass over without professional and leading support.
Therefore, being a Board member in national and especially international organizations forces me to continually learn, evolve and gives me the opportunity to be actively involved in creating essential differences that is definitely needed in our region.

Gary Butler

I am a paediatric and adolescent physician and endocrinologist. I have over 18 years experience in providing endocrine support to transgender young people. Since moving to UCL in London in 2009 I have taken responsibility for the direction and development of medical/endocrine care for the UK Gender Identity Development Service, the largest single unit for child and adolescent transgender care worldwide. I have personally cared for over 1000 young people. I have developed standards of care and operating guidelines working with the National Health Service in England. I have also provided specialist input to the Endocrine Society 2017 guidelines revision. I am driven to improve clinical care for this special group of young people, but also, as a clinician scientist, to develop an evidence base for the investigations, aetiology and interventions that we employ. 

I have set up studies to explore the evidence base and have changed the focus away from a quest for a pathological diagnosis into one to provide appropriate supportive care. I am also driving clinical and basic science research is conducted to fill in the many gaps in our knowledge. I have research programmes in clinical care, growth, bone health, body composition, hormone treatment efficacy and in basic science exploring the effects of treatment on the immune system. We in the GIDS in 2019 secured a large grant from the UK National Institute for Health Research to conduct a longitudinal study in the outcomes in gender variant children and adolescents. I have a number of clinical scientific and clinical care publications in recent years, and am extending our knowledge-base.

I have also taken a lead in educating paediatricians and other health care professionals in the UK about care of the transgender young person, and have begun regular undergraduate medial training within UCL Medical School, a programme we are rolling out across the UK.
I am active in setting standards internationally, as convener of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Gender Dysphoria Working Group. I was a member of ESPE Council for 7 years and as Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee, I produced many consensus statement guidelines. I hosted the first ever ESPE Science Symposium in 2018 focussed on the Science of Gender, research and clinical management, and had many European specialists taking part.

I am well known as a leader within my field and broadcast frequently on national media and press on transgender matters to improve the public understanding and perception.

It is my mission to improve clinical care by developing structured care pathways and exploring better help and treatment through good quality evidence-based research. I am also committed to improve health care and understanding. Thus for EPATH I would strive to develop our knowledge and understanding through promoting good quality research and education. As a person recognised to be approachable and collaborative, I would bring members and colleagues together to foster new developments in all these areas, together with increasingly strong links both within European and international endocrinology and other healthcare disciplines.

Dragana Duisin

For the past few decades I have been working on improvement of quality of life and promotion of mental, physical and social health of transgender people in Serbia, Europe and Worldwide. Having an extensive career in transgender health issues, I have managed to make substantial improvements in the field by making more visibility and availability of our multidisciplinary health care with trans persons not only in Serbia, and the wider Balkan region, but globally too. Establishment of the formal Unit for transgender persons contributed the most in achieving their equal position with others in obtaining needed health care. Furthermore, a multidisciplinary State board (commission) within the Ministry of Health of Republic of Serbia was established of which I am a  member. For the past 5 years I am also involved in the creation, implementation and improvement of clinical guidelines in health care of trans persons in Serbia. One of the activities within the Commission is coordination with public services and reconciliation of legislative with the needs of transgender persons according to human rights (managing some important legal aspects respecting their needs to have equal treatment in health care, employment and other aspects of life, studying etc.).
Apart from my clinical work with trans people my activity also include education in transgender issues of professionals in the field, as well as medical and resident students and the wider community in Serbia and other Balkan countries.

I am ready to be involved with the board organization where I could deliver my expertise and contribute with some ideas regarding the improvement of transgender care in all main aspects (e.g., medical, ethical, legislative etc.). Inclusion of professional courses through webinars in all important domains (main EPATH streams) could facilitate health care and additionally popularize the transgender field. Also, this could overcome some barriers for education and health care in the field. My experience and knowledge in several of the key areas required for the role of Board member demonstrated my ability to contribute to spread main ideas, mission and goals of the EPATH and motivate other professionals involved in the field to join and affiliate. I would like to offer my clinical expertise, commitment, understanding and enthusiasm to the EPATH needs-based outcomes. I see my position as a board member to deliver strategies previously created and confirmed by EPATH board and help their implementation in the region and Europe respecting cultural and other differences.

Attila Fazekas

My name is Attila Fazekas, I am medical doctor, consulting psychiatrist. I work as medical director at the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Lund, Sweden. I am engaged in the healthcare of the transgender people in Sweden in many ways. I work in the field as healthcare provider since 2003. I am the President of the Swedish Professional Association for Transgender Health (SPATH) since 2013. I am member of The National Board of Health and Welfare, the governing state institution for healthcare. I am board member of the Swedish Gender Dysphoria Register and the Swedish Gender Dysphoria Study.

I put myself as candidate for EPATH board member, because I would like to use my broad national experience to take EPATH to the next level regarding European collaboration between colleagues and countries for healthcare and studies of the transgender people.

Europe consists of many countries with different cultural, national and political roots and not least with different views on transgender people. The different countries have different insurance systems which means it is different what kind of healthcare will be provided. This affects the opportunities of transgender people to have equal or at least similar quality of life. The European Union has contributed to reducing disparities over the last two decades but they still exist.

I think EPATH should work on a broad front that transgender people wherever they live in Europe should have the same opportunity to quality of life and healthcare. Through collegial cooperation EPATH should contribute to provide to spread evidence based medicine and spread results of the latest research. The collaboration may lead further to that members of the EPATH/WPATH can influence politicians to make laws to allow transgender people equal rights to recognise their legal status and needs.

As healthcare provider I would like to see more research to give colleagues better understanding for evidence based medicine. I think EPATH has an important role to encourage more research.

Alessandra Daphne Fisher

I am a clinical researcher with an Endocrinological background, leading since several years the Florence’s Gender Team. My research activity in the last ten years have been focused on medical and psychological support of transgender people, as well as on promoting awareness and acceptance of the sexual minorities in the Italian context. I have actively participated to foster Italian clinical and research activity in transgender youth, with the aim to extend health care support also to transgender adolescents. I have coordinated the working group to develop the first Italian guidelines for treatment of transgender adolescents, in line with WPATH guidelines.
I have been involved and coordinated several multi-centre clinical studies involving multidisciplinary teams, having gender incongruence as topic. I am a member of the Endocrinology Steering Committee within the project European Network for the Investigation of Gender Incongruence (ENIGI) and of the Transgender Sexual Health and Dysfunction Committee of the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). I have actively participated to the EPATH birth, being part of the endocrinology stream since its foundation. I have been an invited speaker in several international and national congresses with lectures on gender incongruence. I teach in courses and am a mentor or opponent to several PhD theses focused on transgender health. I am a Chapter Workgroup Member for the Applicability of the Standards of Care (SOC8) to People with Intersex Conditions. I have authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific international, high impacted journals papers and book chapters mainly focused on gender incongruence (HI 27).
By working in a culturally conservative and religion-permeated context as Italy, I had to face many barriers and difficulties in promoting transgender health. For this purpose, I’m collaborating with the Italian National Institute of Health and coordinating working groups within Italian scientific societies, with the aim of implementing access to health care for transgender people. I’m actively participating to obtain the coverage of costs of hormones by the Italian NHS, and to provide homogeneous local health care offer.

EPATH mission should include among its priorities the promotion of actions to protect the health of transgender people, by implementing competencies and skills among providers around Europe. Clinicians must be prepared to recognize and care for persons experiencing gender identity-related discomfort, as well as for those who have received or request gender-affirming medical treatments. Existing European services do not always guarantee an appropriate and timely referral of transgender people when needed. This stresses the need to fulfil the current gap not only by fostering specific professional training and scientific research but also special educational programs within schools and local communities. Scarce knowledge of gender diverse people may also lead to discrimination and low social acceptance that often transgender people should face in many European countries. In this perspective, EPATH should be also committed to increase the quality of life among transgender people around Europe, by reducing barriers for sexual minorities.

Ottar Gudmundsson

PhD degree from the University of Gothenburg in 1984. Studied medical history at the Freie Universität in Berlin 1999-2000.
Written numerous articles on transgender issues in the Icelandic press.
Written and published 10 books in Icelandic in various subjects; such as sexual history and sexual ethics, alcoholism and substance abuse, death and dying, suicides and 2 books on psychiatric illnesses in the Icelandic sagas.
Medical doctor. Graduated from the University of Iceland in 1975. Specialist in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Studied in Gothenburg under supervision of Jan Wålinder and Inga Tufve who were pioneers in Transgender research in Sweden.
Employed at the University Hospital of Iceland, Psychiatric Unit since 1990.
Head of the Transgender care unit at the psychiatric hospital since 1997.
Teacher at the Medical faculty.

I have been head of the Transgender Unit in Iceland for 20 years. I have seen all the changes that are occurring in the field, the increase of young people with gender dysphoria and the increase of young people with psychiatric problems as being on the autistic spectrum and ADHD. The whole field has changed greatly demanding a new vision and great flexibility. The political atmosphere has changed and the transgender community is participating to a greater extent in the discussion. This means the necessity of close co-operation with the community and listening to the views and opinions of transgender people. The concepts of binary and non-binary have also changed the concepts of care that has to be more flexible. I think that my background in internal medicine and psychiatry enables me to see the whole field with good insight and an open mind. As a medical historian I am able to see how history constantly changes and new ideas and conceptions come and go. It has been very interesting to see all the changes in the field of transgender care in the last 20 years and I am very excited to see what the future may bring. I think that my experience will be an asset to the European Transgender Care. My vision for EPATH is that we will be able to help people with transgender issues and gender dysphoria in accordance with the best scientific knowledge and human aspects.

Penny Lenihan

I am a Senior Gender Specialist and Consultant Psychologist in private practice. I was the Lead Consultant Psychologist and Head of Psychology at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (NHS) for over 15 years, setting up and developing the psychology service there and continue to provide supervision, training and consultancy within the NHS in the UK. I have also worked extensively in the  voluntary sector and academia, enabling me to bring a broad perspective to this post.

I am a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) and the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists (BAGIS). I am included on the British Psychological Society Register of Gender Diversity Specialists and am listed on the HM Government Gender Recognition Panel’s list of UK specialists in the field of gender dysphoria. I am an author on the current UK Royal College of Psychiatrists guidelines for working with adults with gender dysphoria and British Psychological Society guidelines for working therapeutically with sexual and gender minority clients. 

I have been providing services to LGBQ+ people since the 1980s and have specialized in gender and provision of services to the trans community since the mid-1990s. I also have an additional specialist interest and clinical accreditations in autism and am passionate about promoting the perspectives of and the wellbeing of those who are not neurotypical. I have a background of over 25 years in academia, multidisciplinary project management and service development in leading UK medical schools, NHS and charities with a specific focus on marginalized or underserved communities.

For more details on my background, clinical accreditations, book, conference and journal publications, please see my website www.drpennylenihan.com.

I primarily see this post as not being about me, but as an opportunity to contribute towards further advancing care, research, and the literature for the trans community. I support the aims and objectives of EPATH, but additionally would like to see increasing focus on inclusivity and representation of the diversity within the trans community, with a particular focus on those voices who find it hardest to be heard. I would like to see diversity promoted strongly within EPATH, towards more inclusivity of the range of trans health care service users perspectives and needs. This requires moving beyond a clinician perspective of ”how to work with clinical challenges’ into a user focused perspective of ‘nothing about us without us’. As a Director I would aim to promote an inclusive, positive, and validating perspective, putting all those who use gender services at the centre of discussions and developments. 

Sébastien Machefaux

I am a French psychiatrist for adolescents and adults. 

  • I am in charge of the coordination of an eating disorder multidisciplinary team (www.nightingalehospitals.com). I have a private practice of general psychiatry, cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy and also systemic psychotherapy for couples and families, in co-therapy with different colleagues. 
  • As a psychiatry trainee, I have been part of the french association of psychiatry trainees (AFFEP, http://www.affep.fr) and referent for the city of Montpellier. I have been president of the Montpellier Association of Psychiatry Trainees and organized the AFFEP 2007 symposium (www.cnipsy.fr). I am currently a member of the French Federation of Anorexia Bulimia FFAB.
  • My Neurosciences Master Degree research on agency/self-consciousness has been awarded in 2006 by “Institut Lilly” with a PhD grant.

More specifically about transgender health :

  • Since the end of my psychiatry internship, 12 years ago, I have been working in transgender health at Groupe Hospitalo Universitaire Paris Neurosciences Sainte Anne, where I am currently an hospital practitioner and where I have been a  «Head of Clinic of the Universities and Hospitals of Paris». 
  • My medical thesis in 2007 focused on the evaluation of psychopathology of the trans* cohort in our department. More recently I participated in a fMRI study on autobiographical memory and gender identity.
  • I am part of the Parisian multidisciplinary team, (www.transparis.fr) and a member of the SOFECT (www.sofect.fr), an association gathering multidisciplinary teams from different cities in France. Since 9 years, this association organizes one symposium a year, where I am often a speaker. I teach in a university qualification for transgender health (www.sofect.fr/diu.html) that we developed 3 years ago. This year, my SOFECT colleagues asked me to apply for the next board since I proposed a renewal of our association (medical concepts and responses, creation of FrenchPATH, facilitation of social security requirements for the reimbursement of genital surgery…). I have been a member of the WPATH/EPATH for 2 years and have attended the 2016 Amsterdam, 2017 Belgrade, 2018 Buenos Aires and soon 2019 Roma Symposiums.

EPATH aims are health, quality of life, rights of trans people thanks to a European network for competence, knowledge and research. I would enthusiastically seek to promote the cornerstone of these aims: a specific healthcare organization for trans* people, comprised of interdisciplinary departments specifically dedicated to trans healthcare in large cities, with all the medical and paramedical specialties involved together, not to mention ethicists and social workers, centered around a case manager, provided with a specific budget. This system would secure the continuity of care, improve the interdisciplinarity and the convergence of patients. This would foster the practitioners’ competences by increasing their levels of activity, the constitution of peers’ and parents’ groups, and the research by increasing the cohorts’ sizes. Since, as more than in any other medical field, gender identity is characterized by a confluence of medical and societal concerns, these departments should ideally involve disciplines beyond medicine: philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and patients’ associations.

Christina Richards

I am a trans person, a psychologist professor of gender and mental health, and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) where I am the Chair of the Division of Counselling Psychology; Committee member for Psychologist Prescribing; Lead National Assessor for Counselling Psychology; and Chair of the committee for BPS Guidelines for working therapeutically with sexual, gender, and relationship diverse clients. I am also Visiting Full Professor of Gender and Mental Health at Regent’s University London School of Psychotherapy and Psychology. In my charity work, I am a Trustee of the National LGBT Foundation; Co-Founder of BiUK, and co-author of the Bisexuality Report.

My career has been dedicated to work in the field of gender diversity. I am currently Lead Consultant Psychologist/Head of Psychology, as well as Head of Research, at the London Gender Identity Clinic (Charing Cross) within the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. This involves management and supervision as well as assessing people with complex needs for hormones and surgeries.

As a passionate advocate for gender diverse people I was privileged to be appointed by the executive board of WPATH to be Lead Chapter Author for Adult Assessment in the Standards of Care Version 8 (SoC v8) revision. I also represented the East Midlands to NHS England’s Clinical Reference Group (CRG) on Gender Identity Services; and I am listed as an expert in gender diversity by the BPS on the Gender Diversity Specialist Register (whose criteria I co-drafted). I am one of the few psychologists recognised by the UK’s Courts and Tribunals Service as a Specialist in the field of Gender Dysphoria.

In my academic work, I am the the Editor-in-Chief of the journal of the BPS’ Division of Counselling Psychology: Counselling Psychology Review, and have published a great many papers, reports, and book chapters, and books, mostly on gender diversity, including the first ever clinical guide on assisting non-binary folk.

In joining the EPATH board, I would hope to bring my triple intersecting experiences and knowledge to the work of the Association – That of a trans person; and academic; and a clinician. In this way I hope to meet the Association’s aims of promoting mental, physical and social health; increasing quality of life; and ensuring transgender people’s rights for healthy development and well-being. I would see this as being facilitated through undertaking and disseminating research (as outlined in the Goals below), most especially focusing on that which informs policy, law, and clinical practice; as well as engaging with policy and law makers to effect change.

This would aid the Goals of the Association in fostering European (and global) knowledge and skills in transgender care; as well as facilitating and extending the bonds between European countries in transgender care. My EuroPsy award evidences my firm belief in European partnership and I would hope to aid the Association to spread the results of research and experiences by publishing reports and organising scientific conferences and meetings; and collaborating with international organisations with the same or related aims.

Gennaro Selvaggi

Since I started training under the supervision of Prof. Monstrey (2001-2003), I felt committed to improve the care, and add to the evidence of Transgender Health. During the preparation of my PhD thesis on Transgender Surgery in Ghent (2010), I deepened many issues that go beyond the surgical techniques, such as patients’ reported outcomes and experiences in merit to treatments and healthcare. I understood how these treatment-related experiences are integrated within each individual’s life, and connected to the society in which the person is living. As healthcare provider, I realized that one surgeon alone couldn’t improve patients’ life: the entire healthcare organization and society play fundamental roles. Working in a multidisciplinary Team is key, and the patient must be at its centre; similarly, cooperation with governmental agencies is mandatory.
I felt privileged when, since 2011, Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg called me to build and lead the surgical section of its Gender Program. My experiences within the Gender Units in Ghent (periodically, from 2001 to 2010) and Charing Cross (2010-2012), as well as the Master in Leading and Managing in Healthcare Organizations (Plymouth University, 2013) provided me with experience, skills, and knowledge needed for the leading tasks at Sahlgrenska, and for cooperating with the other Swedish centres and with the Swedish Ministry of Health.
While in Sweden, I realized how innovations might further improve the patients’ health states. On the other hand, I experienced also how misconduct experimental treatments can worsen patients’ life, especially when providers have assumptions, rather than evidence-based practices, or when a patient’s expectations might not be realistic. By questioning myself over daily practices, confronting with peers, and listening to more than 2000 trans persons, I became eager to triangulate: patients’ voices, healthcare organization, and higher thinking; I eventually enrolled, and completed a Master of Arts in Global Public Health (major: Bioethics) at the New York University (2018). Studies focused on: ethical issues related to the provision of care to (trans) persons in the context of governments with limited resources; equality; mediation of cultural conflicts; confrontation of health priorities among different patients’ groups; sustainability, and social responsibility.
A 360-degree, holistic approach to trans gender healthcare can make us reflect on our own mistakes, and the suboptimal ways of providing care.

I envisage EPATH acting as a cultural platform to mediate, deliver voices and scientific information, between trans persons and healthcare organizations and providers, governmental agencies, and other professional and patients’ associations. Scope is to move forward the group of trans persons together with other groups of patients for the benefit of the entire society. Therefore, I strongly support the participation of the patients group within the board and the management of EPATH; this participation, in fact, can easy a two-way communication: first, patient’s group voices are delivered directly to a higher level (healthcare providers and governments’ representatives); second, representatives of the trans community can directly receive feedback from governments, providers, and other organizations.

Ben Vincent

My name is Ben Vincent, my pronouns are they/them. I have a degree in Biological Natural Sciences (specialising in Genetics) from the University of Cambridge (UK), an MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies also from the University of Cambridge (UK), and a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Leeds (UK). My doctoral research looked at non-binary gender identity negotiation in the contexts of LGBTQ communities and medical practice, in a UK context. I am currently employed as a Research Fellow at the Open University on the project ‘Before, During and After Gender Identity Specialist Services: Improving the integration of care for trans adults’.

My work includes the 2018 book ‘Transgender Health: A Practitioner’s Guide to Binary and Non-Binary Trans Patient Care’, and multiple academic journal articles and book chapters. I recently had a guest editorial in the International Journal of Transgenderism, and I am currently working on two books; the first research monograph on contemporary non-binary identities, and an edited collection critically engaging with trans-exclusionary politics.

I am chair of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), a charity with a long history of working closely with WPATH. This, together with a history of sitting on various academic committees, shows my experience as a Board Member and collaborative worker. I am also a member of the non-binary chapter of the 8th edition of the WPATH Standards of Care, where consensus-building is emphasised.

My vision for EPATH is to cultivate an organisation which fosters a robust and protected system of leadership transparency, and accountability to both members and the wider trans population. I view it as deeply necessary for any organisation with a mission “to eliminate stigma towards gender-variant people” to acknowledge past and present power dynamics between trans populations and clinical providers, such that trans expertise is properly acknowledged.

Related to this, I wish to develop an environment which approaches the question of what constitutes evidence beyond (but without neglecting) clinical traditions, such that EPATH can be judged as a trailblazer of interdisciplinary synergy. This obviously does not mean a sacrifice of rigour, but would see EPATH resist disciplinary hierarchies based on their modes of knowledge production. I believe my training in both natural and social scientific methodologies and my academic experience equip me particularly well in this respect.

Further political concerns include increasing concessions or waiving fees for economically marginalised trans people, and to encourage effective collaboration with trans communities, for all our benefits. Following the example of Gail Knudson in the WPATH context, I also believe more work is needed to increase diversity of EPATH membership in terms of national location. Improving this will ensure the organisation’s understanding of healthcare challenges, and recognition of expertise, can truly be said to be European.

Finally, my vision is one where I ultimately execute the will of the membership in improving understanding and experiences of trans healthcare, and to this end would make myself easily contactable and ongoingly accountable. Thank you for your support.