September 28, 2021

West Chester University Hosts Virtual Symposium to Address Integrated Care for Trans and Gender Diverse YouthEPIC Symposium

West Chester University will host the one-day, virtual symposium Integrated Care and Support for Trans and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents on Friday, October 1, from 10 – 3 p.m.  Part of the EPIC Program - Education and Programming for Integrated Care – the symposium is open to the public, FREE, and APA Psychology and Pennsylvania-Licensed LSW, LCSW, LPC, and LMFT clinicians can earn Continuing Education Credits. Information and registration can be found at

The EPIC Program is funded through a $3.8 million HRSA (Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration) grant that was awarded to West Chester University to train behavioral health care workers in integrated care. The grant provides West Chester University MSW, MEd, and PsyD students with stipends ranging from $10,000 - $25,000 to further their training and to expand behavioral health services to medically underserved populations and communities. To date, more than 170 West Chester University students have been trained or are eligible for training. 

West Chester University Deputy Provost, Jeffery Osgood, says, “We are proud of the EPIC Program and all that it has done for our students and the community at large. The $3.8 million HRSA grant not only ensures that our West Chester University students receive high-quality training and experiential learning opportunities, but also helps shine a light on healthcare areas of need that exist in our community.”

The topic for the October 1 symposium is one that is near and dear to the West Chester University Department of Social Work faculty members who planned the event.

Julie Tennille, associate professor and principal investigator of the EPIC Program from the department of Graduate Social Work says, “Trans and gender diverse youth experience intense stigma, discrimination, are often victims of violence, and are socially excluded to the detriment of their well-being. They are also at much greater risk for suicidal ideation, and inadequate health care. Many do not share their identities with their primary health providers. People in medicine and behavioral health don’t typically get the training they need to serve this population. We hope this symposium can help to make a small dent in the progress we need to make as a society to help this underserved population.” 

The symposium has been marketed to a broader audience due to its virtual nature. Currently, 550 registrants from 18 states and 2 countries are registered to attend.

Page Walker Buck, assistant chair of the Graduate Social Work Department says, “During the COVID-19 shut-down when all events were forced to move online, we learned that our virtual symposiums, which are also recorded, were well attended, and could attract regional, national, and international practitioners. We’re excited to be able to reach a wider pool of clinicians to provide training in areas that are often overlooked in our healthcare system.”

Keynote speakers Sandra L. Bloom and Dane Ray will present on “Challenges to Identity Development in Adolescents,” and “Gender Affirming Care for Transgender, Gender Diverse and Gender Creative Clients,” respectively.  Bloom is associate professor of Health Management and Policy at Drexel University. Ray is the owner and operator of D & A Consulting Services and a training facilitator with The Transgender Training Institute.

A debriefing panel of experts from diverse practices will respond to keynote content. The panel includes:

  • Karen Dickinson, WCU associate professor, Counselor Education
  • Elizabeth Grillo, WCU professor, Communications Sciences and Disorders
  • Nellie Riendeau Lazar, family nurse practitioner, Division of Adolescent Medicine and Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Stacie M. Metz, WCU professor, Public Health, and MPH program director
  • Malik Muhammed, associate director, LGBT Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • Mx Lena Queen, private practice clinical somatic sexologist, cannabis & plant medicine advocate, and transformational life & erotic coach

Enrolling more than 17,000 students, West Chester University is the largest member of the 14-institution Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Founded in 1871, the University is a comprehensive public institution, offering a diverse range of more than 200 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. In addition to West Chester, the University offers programs through its graduate center, Philadelphia, and online. Six colleges and two schools comprise the University: University College, Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Business and Public Management, Education and Social Work, Health Sciences, and the Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the Wells School of Music, and the Graduate School.



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