Dr. Brad Figler, associate professor of urology, received the faculty LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Award for his leadership of the UNC Transgender Health Program.
At this year’s Lavender Graduation, Dr. Brad Figler received the faculty LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Award for his work on creating the UNC Transgender Health Program as a way to support the coordination and quality of care for transgender patients. Three awards are given out annually; one to an undergraduate student, one to a graduate/professional student, and one to a faculty/staff member for their contributions to, or advocacy on behalf of, the LGBTIQ communities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The awardees are honored at the Lavender Graduation – a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTIQA+ identified students and their allies. This year’s ceremony was held in mid-May.
Figler is a fellowship-trained expert in transgender care and gender-affirming surgery and an associate professor in the UNC Department of Urology. When he started at UNC in 2016, he noticed that there was a lot of great work being done for transgender patients across the healthcare system. However, it wasn’t always clear to patients how to best access those services. Therefore, in 2018 Figler proposed the UNC Transgender Health Program as a way to improve access to UNC Healthcare and to support coordination and quality of care for transgender patients.
The program was officially launched in July 2019 and draws on the strength and commitments of many departments across UNC, including urology, gynecology, plastic surgery, family medicine, endocrinology, and psychiatry. Further, two of the three employees of the UNC Transgender Health Program are trans, allowing members of the community to guide people through transition and train faculty and staff across UNC on how to provide better care to trans individuals. During the creation of this program, Figler tirelessly sought guidance and insight from existing programs across the country, traveling to observe surgery and learn from the experiences of other programs–setting UNC’s program up for success. In its first year, the Transgender Health Program at UNC has been a resounding success – there has been such a high volume of incoming patients that the program has not only been approved for continuation but for further expansion as well.
“I am thrilled that the UNC LGBTIQA+ community chose to recognize the work of the UNC Transgender Health Program,” says Figler. “While we have much more work to do to improve health and access for transgender patients in North Carolina, we have come a long way since we started the program one year ago. We could not have done this without the incredible support of the Department of Urology, UNC Healthcare and our committed and hard working staff – Katherine Croft, Shae Bardgett, and Kristia Vasiloff.”
The LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards recognize contributions to or advocacy on behalf of LGBTIQA+ communities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of particular interest is work done from an intersectional framework, meaning that it accounted for the fact that people experience the world in very different ways depending on the constellation of societally privileged and marginalized identities they hold. Three awards are given out annually; one to an undergraduate student, one to a graduate/professional student, and one to a faculty/staff member. The awardees are honored at the Lavender Graduation – a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTIQA+ identified students and their allies. Members of the 2018-2019 Advocacy Award Committee worked hard to determine three winners from over 30 nominations recognizing the contributions of talented and committed UNC community members for the 2019-20 awards. All winners and their achievements can be read about on the LGBTQ Center’s website