Grad Counseling Psych Students Attend and Volunteer at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference
Posted on January 23, 2018 by Dr. Audrey Ervin .
The Master of Arts in counseling psychology program places emphasis on developing multiculturally competent counselors. Drawing upon a social justice perspective, students are provided with experiential learning experiences that encourage them to connect with people from different backgrounds, identities and life experiences. Students are challenged to increase their knowledge, skills and self-awareness in order to effectively work with people with diverse, intersecting identities. Students attend, volunteer and present at local and national conferences in order to experience cutting-edge social science research and to develop skills to best serve clients and communities.
Dr. Audrey Ervin, academic director of the graduate counseling psychology program, accompanied graduate students Jennifer O’Donnell, Aria Craig and Meg Clawson to the 16th Annual Trans Health Conference in Philadelphia during the fall 2017 semester. The nationally-recognized conference, sponsored by the Mazzoni Center, is a space for transgender, gender variant and gender diverse individuals and their allies to come together and address culturally competent care for transgender people.
The conference hosted a professional track for educating medical providers, behavioral health providers and lawyers in addition to providing open sessions for the general public. Sessions covered topics such as: transgender history, advocacy, spiritual well-being, aging, allies, legal rights, gender transitioning, disability, youth, families, and international issues.
“It’s important that counselors in training understand the strengths and challenges of gender minority people so that they can effectively support, advocate for and empower individuals in their counseling practice,” said Dr. Ervin.
Students reflected on their first experience at the Trans Health Conference:
“Attending the 2017 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference allowed us to see and experience the trans community, healthcare providers, allies and activists all coming together in one space to support, uplift, and empower this community. Attending inspiring workshops gave us an opportunity to engage with community members and activists and brainstorm about how we can all better serve this population and remain vigilant in our endeavors for equality and justice. Education, outreach, and advocacy are all important aspects of supporting the trans community, as well as respecting and honoring our unique differences and individuality.”- Jennifer O’Donnell
"The 2017 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference was my very first conference! I had no idea what to expect. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to not only attend the conference, but I was also given the opportunity to volunteer and help out at the camp for kids. Overall, it was a great learning experience, as well as a great life experience. I learn best when I immerse myself in new cultures and communities and learn firsthand about various experiences. The 2017 Philadelphia Trans Health conference will not be the last conference that I attend!"-Aria Craig
“I am grateful for this experience, which has helped me internalize a pretty epic 'ah-ha' moment. I doubt I would have received the same lesson from reading about it in a book.” -Meg Clawson