DirectorProgram for LGBTQ Health
Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, is a professor of anesthesiology, surgery, biomedical informatics, and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the Secretary of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. Dr. Ehrenfeld divides his time among clinical practice, teaching and research. He serves as associate director of the Vanderbilt Anesthesiology & Perioperative Informatics Research Division, a multi-disciplinary group of physicians, engineers, developers, analysts and researchers who develop systems to improve anesthetic and surgical outcomes. Dr. Ehrenfeld also has an appointment as an adjunct professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Ehrenfeld’s research, which focuses on understanding how information technology can improve surgical safety and patient outcomes, has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, and Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. His work has led to the presentation of more than 200 abstracts, as well as the publication of more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Systems and has co-authored 15 clinical textbooks. He was a 2016 Emmy Nominee.
Born in Wilmington, Del., Dr. Ehrenfeld is a graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed an internship in internal medicine, a residency in anesthesiology and an informatics fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital. A combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan during both Operation Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support Mission, Dr. Ehrenfeld continues to serve as a commander in the United States Navy Reserve. He lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his husband, Judd Taback.
Medical DirectorVUMC Clinic for Transgender Health
Shayne Sebold Taylor, MD, is the inaugural Medical Director for the VUMC Clinic for Transgender Health which provides primary care and transition-related services to transgender patients. Dr. Taylor is originally from Tucson, AZ. Her undergraduate studies at Emory University in Atlanta were in the areas of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Biology. In 2014, she received her MD degree from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Dr. Taylor performed her medical residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in the division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health at VUMC. In addition to her specialization in Internal Medicine, she has expertise in the areas of General LGBT Health and Adolescent LGBT Health. She has contributed to several published articles, including "The Gender Non-Conforming Child" and "The Gender Non-Conforming Child Version 2.0" as well as "Electronic Health Records and Preparedness: Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey" with Program for LGBTQ Health Director, Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH.
Assistant DirectorVUMC Clinic for Transgender Health
Dr. Adam Huggins is from Birmingham, Alabama. He completed his undergraduate education at Wake Forest University, studying abroad in London, England his senior year. He attended medical school at the University of Alabama Birmingham, followed by residency at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He was in private practice in Nashville for four years before joining Vanderbilt in 2013. He completed his Masters in Management of HealthCare from Vanderbilt Owen School of Business in 2016. He is currently the Assistant Clerkship Director for medical students on their OBGYN rotation and a member of the generalists faculty group. Dr. Huggins has a particular interest in the business side of medicine and has created a medical student elective rotation focusing on the economic aspects of healthcare. Outside of medicine, he is married to his wife Tess. She is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at Vanderbilt and they have a young son, Thomas. He enjoys fly fishing, playing ice hockey, and snow skiing.
LGBTQ Health Research Faculty
Lea K. Davis, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Genetic Medicine/Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During the past fifteen years, Dr. Davis has researched complex behavioral phenotypes and earned degrees in both psychology (BS) and human genetics (PhD). As a postdoctoral fellow, she trained with Dr. Nancy Cox at the University of Chicago where she mastered statistical and computational approaches to large complex data sets. As a postdoctoral fellow, then as a research assistant professor funded by a KL2 career development award at the University of Chicago, she organized and lead several multi-center analytic efforts on behalf of three neuropsychiatric consortia in TS, OCD, and ASD. Her findings are informing subsequent polygenic analyses, pathway analyses, and rare variant analyses and have significantly impacted the field.
When she is not working, Dr. Davis enjoys cooking, knitting, hiking, yoga, and, most importantly, advocating on issues of social justice including LGBTQ health disparities.
Del Ray Zimmerman is our full-time LGBTQ Health Program Manager and is the main point of contact for most day-to-day issues. Del Ray will be managing many of the operations functions of the LGBTQ Health Program, acting as the program's internal and external representative, and supervising our volunteers, interns and part-time/temporary workers. He comes to us with over 20 years of experience in non-profit management. Much of that experience has been gained with local Nashville LGBT-focused organizations including: Nashville Cares, GLSEN, and OutCentral Cultural Center. Del Ray received his B.S. in Communications from University of Tennessee Knoxville and is originally from Winchester, Tennessee.
Keanan Gottlieb is a 2017 graduate from Pitzer College where he studied Public Health with an emphasis on gender and disparities.
During the summers of 2015 and 2016, Keanan served as an intern for our program, where he contributed to the Trans Buddy patient navigator initiative, as well as research focused on identifying transgender patients in electronic health records.
Keanan's professional interests include transgender health and emergency medicine. When not at work, he enjoys learning how to play bagpipes and scuba diving.
"I am excited to be back working for the Program for LGBTQ Health," Keanan says of his return. "I look forward to working on a variety of studies with multidisciplinary teams as well as interacting with patients."
Trans Buddy Coordinator
Shawn Reilly is our Trans Buddy Program coordinator. Shawn was a college mentor for the Students of Stonewall program, a high school queer and ally activism group, and resident advisor for the McGill project, a philosophy dorm at Vanderbilt University. They are the former Vice President of the Vanderbilt undergraduate queer organization, and volunteer student program coordinator of Engage, a week long queer-focused immersion trip to Chicago. They organized the gender inclusive housing initiative on Vanderbilt’s campus and worked to create dialogue around social justice issues through programming. A proud member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, they also focus their organizing efforts on worker’s rights, women’s issues, and public education advocacy.
Barry is responsible for ongoing maintenance of the program website, provides administrative support, and is also our photographer for various special projects. His function as Webmaster/Program Assistant is an extension of his duties as Program Assistant for the Office for Diversity Affairs, where he has been since 2011. Barry has been an art and commercial photographer outside of Vanderbilt and his husband is a professional commercial and fine artist.
Past Trans Buddy Coordinator
Rj Robles is a queer and transgender Latinx activist and member of Southerners on New Ground seeking to continue the strong legacy of trans people of color organizing in the South. They hold a BA in Gender & Women Studies and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a Master of Divinity (M.Div) from Vanderbilt Divinity School, where their focus was on the intersections of transgender theology and pastoral care and counseling. From 2016-2018, they served as the coordinator of the Trans Buddy Program, which utilizes trained volunteers to provide emotional support to transgender patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They now work at the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter as a Bilingual Case Manager helping Latina women survivors of domestic violence. They are also actively in the process of ordained ministry through the Tennessee Disciples of Christ church.
Former Director of LGBTQ Research
In July 2017, Lauren began an appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Northwestern University-The Feinberg School of Medicine.
In July 2015, Lauren B. Beach, JD/PhD began an appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Vanderbilt University in the research group of Dr. Kerri Cavanaugh. An alumna of the University of Minnesota's Joint Degree Program in Law, Science and Technology, Lauren completed her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics.
While developing her academic career, Lauren has also dedicated herself to progressive student and community leadership, with an emphasis on serving and advocating for LGBTQIA and bisexual communities. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, Lauren held multiple student leadership roles dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, including serving as President of the Alliance of LGBTQA Students and working as a student diversity programming employee at MSU's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. Upon her arrival to Minnesota, Lauren not only continued her work with LGBTQIA student groups, but also expanded into serving the community at large. From 2010-2013, Lauren led the 501(c)(3) organization Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) as Chairperson, transforming it from a largely Twin Cities focused organization into a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized non-profit. From 2009-2014, Lauren also served as a core organizer of BOP's annual BECAUSE Conference on bisexuality. Additionally, Lauren has served on the boards of the 501(c)(3) organizations the Queer Student Cultural Center, the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance, China AIDS Orphan Fund and currently serves on the board of the Zambian child health non-profit Healthy Kids: Brighter Future.
After receiving his PhD in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in Fall 2015, Kale accepted a postdoctoral scholarship in Dr. Fei Wang's lab at China Medical University in Shenyang, where he is using network-based neuroimaging techniques to study first-episode psychosis.
Kale Edmiston is a PhD in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, where he studies the neuroendocrine system, stress, and social behavior. As part of his dissertation work, he has helped run a musical theatre camp for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Kale is the first out transgender graduate student at Vanderbilt University and in 2014 was elected president of the Neuroscience Student Organization.
Kale has a longstanding interest in improving health care access for transgender people. He has provided transgender health care trainings to providers across the country since 2004. He is also active in a number of organizing projects related to primary care access for transgender people as part of The Program for lgbtq Health. Kale was a plenary speaker at the 2013 Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Annual Meeting, where he spoke about his role in improving transgender patient care as part of lgbtq health program at VUMC.
Kristen Eckstrand, MD, PhD is a co-Founder and past co-Director of the Program for LGBTQ Health at Vanderbilt. After receiving her dual degree from Vanderbilt, Kristen pursued her residency program in Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Medical Education.
Kristen L. Eckstrand holds her MD and a PhD in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University. Throughout her career, Dr. Eckstrand has advocated for the needs of LGBT individuals. Dr. Eckstrand has been working on LGBT medical education since 2008 when she initiated curriculum reform at Vanderbilt, which culminated in the foundation of the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ Health in 2012--the second program in the country housed within an academic medical center.
Dr. Eckstrand is nationally recognized for her work as the founding chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Development, co-editing and authoring the ground-breaking text Implementing Curricular and Institutional Climate Changes to Improve Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSD: A Resource for Medical Educators. She also serves as the Vice President of Education for the board of directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality and as a member of the American Medical Association’s LGBT Advisory Committee. She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications and presentations related to LGBT health and education, and has been recognized for her commitment to diversity through numerous awards including the 2011 Vanderbilt Levi Watkins Jr. Award, the 2013 American Medical Association’s Foundation in Excellence Leadership Award, the 2013 AMSA/GLMA Health Achievement Award for leadership in LGBT health.