Welcome and thank you for signing up with TransForward where we are moving transgender health forward by creating culturally competent transgender health environments.

TransForward – Texas Transgender Health is a collaboration between Equality Texas Foundation, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, and the Texas Health Institute, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization.

The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.

Texas Health Institute, translates emerging research on population and preventative health into practical applications for communities. THl’s programs and education offerings accelerate the implementation of new findings, recruiting opportunities for people to lead a healthy life.

image of a physician meeting with patient

Why this program is important

One of our principal goals is to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts by transgender, non-binary, and Intersex Texans.

The National Center for Transgender Equality’s Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey documents the extent of this important health issue.

  • Among the starkest findings is that 40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. population (4.6%).
  • 82% had seriously thought about killing themselves at some point in their lives.
  • 39% reported that their first attempt occurred between the ages of 14 and 17.
  • 7% attempted suicide in the past year, nearly twelve times the rate of attempted suicide in the U.S. population in the past year.

Meet the team

  • Creating transgender culturally competent health environments is one of the most important programs we can be involved in.
  • Increasing access to health care and reducing suicides and suicide attempts by transgender, gender non-binary, and Intersex Texas is vital.
  • The Texas Transgender Health Program will literally be a life saving project, one that Texas needs drastically.

Lou Weaver, Co-Director

Lou Weaver is a queer transgender man and a leader in Houston’s LGBTQ community. He is the first Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas Foundation. Lou is passionate about elevating the voices of transgender Texans, including the Texas TransVisibleProject, a first-of-its-kind public education campaign.

John Oeffinger, Co-Director

John Oeffinger directs Texas Health Institute’s work with the transgender community. He is also the THI’s Director, eLearning and Training. Together with Lou Weaver, he leads the Texas Transgender Health Program to create a broad-based collaborative effort to improve the health of transgender people.

Founding Team Members and Colleagues

Core Team

Justine Price MPH CPH CIC; April Owen, PsyD; Yoonhwi Cho, MPH; Kate Stewart, MD, MPH; Dani Archie PhD; Julia Kovacs MD; Angela Sturm, MD;  Ellen Martin PhD RN CPHQ; Kat Hinson; Deborah B. Gardner MPH MFA; Danielle Skidmore P.E. CFM; Chuck Smith; Collin Acock MFA; Deanne Cuellar;  Melissa Garcia, PhD, MPH; Jennifer Hadayia, MPA; Ankit Sanghavi, BDS, MPH; Sherry Wilkie-Conway; Stephanie Ondrias; Kara Hamann, CPA, CMA; Anna Stelter, LMSW, MPH; Patricia Ekpo; Emily Hassey, MPH practicum student; Kathryn Breslin, MPH practicum student; Denise Martinez, MPH practicum student; Joe McAdams; Mikayla Avery, MS; Marcy Keefe APRN BC FNP; Marcus Cruz Sanchez; Sarah Kapostasy, LPC; Kathryn Gonzales, MBA; Izzy Star; Vanessa Sarria, MPA; Sandy Rice, M.Ed.; Gwendolyn; Stephanie Perdue; Landon Ritchie; Jessica Zyrie; Meghan Cocking; Rick Hernandez

Collaborating Organizations or Colleagues

Meghan Stabler; Hillary Miller, MD; Chad R. Mandala MS; Phylis Frye; Deborah Lawson; Micah Lubensky, PhD; Carolyn Hunt, MPA; Imelda Wicks, MA CM; Ruth Finkelstein


  • 8th Transgender Non-Discrimination Summit workshop (July 29, 2016)
  • National Black Transgender Advocacy Conference presentation (April 26, 2017)
  • Transgender listening session (February 16, 2017)
  • National Network of Public Health Institutes Annual Conference breakfast roundtable (May 19, 2017)
  • National Association of Social Workers – Texas Annual Conference ethics track panel (October 6, 2017)
  • Gender Infinity 2017 workshop (October 13, 2017)
  • UCSF PRIDENet Summit (October 20-21, 2017)