DMHC Press Release

March 30, 2023

 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

 

DMHC Announces Transgender, Gender Diverse, or Intersex Working Group Members, First Meeting

 

(Sacramento) – The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) announced members of the transgender, gender diverse, or intersex (TGI) working group and the convening meeting, which will be held next month. Established by Senate Bill (SB) 923 by Senator Scott Wiener (2022), the TGI working group will develop quality standards and recommend a training curriculum to train health plan staff in direct contact with transgender, gender diverse or intersex enrollees in the delivery of health care services.

“California is setting groundbreaking standards to create a better, more culturally competent health care system for trans, gender diverse and intersex people,” said Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco). “Health care discrimination and a lack of access to culturally competent care is a major problem in the TGI community, and my hope is more people will have positive health care experiences once the new standards and training recommended by this working group are in place.”

“We are building a Healthy California for All that is inclusive and draws on our diversity and differences,” said California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “I look forward to the outcomes of this working group which will create more inclusive health care for individuals who identify as transgender, gender diverse, or intersex.”

“Every person deserves to receive quality health care. As we convene the TGI working group we are starting the important work of creating a more culturally competent health care system for the TGI community,” said DMHC Director Mary Watanabe. “The members selected to serve on this working group share in the overall commitment to create a more inclusive health care delivery system, and have a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise in the delivery of care for TGI patients, including lived experiences as members of the TGI community.”

PUBLIC MEETING: The working group will hold its first meeting in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in-person with a virtual option and is open to the public. More information about the meeting, including the agenda, and working group is available on the DMHC’s website at www.HealthHelp.ca.gov. The working group will hold several public meetings, including at least four listening sessions across the state with patients from the TGI community, as it works to develop the quality standards and recommendations for the training curriculum by March 1, 2024. 

TGI WORKING GROUP MEMBERS: Delegated by CalHHS to convene the working group, the DMHC announced the following members including representatives from state departments, organizations serving the TGI community, people who identify as TGI, and health care providers.

Dannie Ceseña (he/him/they/them), is the first Two-Spirit, Indigenous, Director of the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network. Dannie has over 15 years of experience working with non-profits in program development and advocacy. Dannie has become a trusted leader in LGBTQ health among partners in the California Tobacco Control Program. He is responsible for building We Breathe: Supporting Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Communities from the ground-up. Dannie is a founding member of the Transgender Health Research Ethics and Advocacy (THREAT) Team which includes members from TGI-led organizations, trans-identified mental providers and academic researchers. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with bachelor’s degrees in English and political science, and is a graduate of National University with a master's degree in public health.

Bambi Cisneros (she/her/hers) has over nine years of experience with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and currently serves as the assistant deputy director - managed care, health care delivery systems (ADD-MC, HCDS). In this role, Bambi assists the HCDS deputy director to oversee the planning, implementation, coordination, and management of the program and policies associated with California’s Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) and the managed care delivery system to ensure that Medi-Cal beneficiaries have access to high quality care. Prior to becoming the ADD-MC, Bambi served as the program monitoring and compliance branch chief in the managed care quality and monitoring division. Bambi earned a bachelor’s degree in government from California State University, Sacramento.

Thomi Clinton (she/her/hers) has been on the forefront of national and regional efforts to secure health care and support services for transgender communities for decades. She has served in an advisory capacity on national policy under two different administrations: the Biden Administration’s LGBTQ+ Health Policy and the Bush Administration’s Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA. Thomi founded the nonprofit Transgender Health & Wellness Center in 2018 with only $10,000. This network of Southern California Centers has over a million-dollar budget and employs the most Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex (TGI) people of any Southern California nonprofit. She has also worked with Riverside County police departments to implement training and policies to protect TGI people.

Bee Curiel (they/them) is a non-binary Chican@ educator born and raised in the East Bay by a working-class immigrant family. Bee graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Chicana/o Studies and worked in student life and outreach in community colleges across Sacramento for five years before moving to Los Angeles. Bee is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at California State University, Northridge and serves as a training coordinator at The TransLatin@ Coalition. Bee believes there is power in our community's collective truths, and deeply values transformation, (re)learning, and healing as critical components to their advocacy work.

Miles Harris, FNP-BC (he/him) is a trans and nonbinary-identified family nurse practitioner and the director of gender-affirming care for UC Davis Health. He is also an assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the lead provider for gender-affirming care at One Community Health. Miles’ research focuses on the sexual and reproductive health needs of transgender and gender-nonbinary people. He has recently published in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and The Nurse Practitioner, as well as textbooks including Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers. He is an advocate for the integration of gender-affirming care with primary care and has trained health care students and providers across the United States.

Stesha Hodges (she/her/hers) is an assistant chief counsel at the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and chief of CDI’s Health Equity and Access Office (HEAO). Stesha joined CDI as an attorney in 2008. Since 2010, she has worked to improve access to, and equity in, health coverage and care through work implementing the Affordable Care Act and health reform in California’s health insurance markets. Stesha represents CDI and the Insurance Commissioner on health issues in proceedings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and with a wide range of external stakeholders. Prior to joining CDI, Stesha worked as an attorney at the California Department of Social Services, as well as in private law practice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

J.M. Jaffe (they/them) serves as the executive director for the newly independent Lyon-Martin Community Health Services in San Francisco, as a non-binary trans masculine trans health content expert. J.M. has 13 years of experience working to expand trans programming at Lyon-Martin, and eight years in consulting at TransLine, a national provider clinical support tool and through their provider training and technical assistance project, Trans Health Consulting. J.M. has over a decade of experience in policy advocacy, most recently leading the Save Lyon-Martin campaign, the National LGBTQIA+ Primary Care Alliance and participating on the Trans Advisory Committee for San Francisco's Office of Trans Initiatives. 

Evan Johnson (they/them/theirs) is the director of Youth Programs for Trans Family Support Services (TFSS). They’ve fostered connection and understanding over the past six years by sharing their own journey as a nonbinary youth, student, and young professional with many audiences, from national conferences to local organizations. Evan has a bachelor’s degree in social work and helps train people—in health care, legal, education, and other environments—on gender diversity and policy. They are dedicated to educating, advocating, learning, and listening to create a safer world for all trans and gender non-conforming youth.

Farnaz Mobasheri Kaufman (she/her/hers) is an educational leader with over 20 years of experience in public education. She started her career as a teacher at Carpenter Avenue Elementary, now an LAUSD affiliated charter school. Farnaz was one of the team members on Carpenter’s conversion to charter status; she also served as curriculum committee chair, LEARN and Governance board member, Lead teacher, UTLA Representative, Gifted Coordinator and PTA teacher representative. Later, she founded and ran iLEAD Encino, then served as the Head of School at Santa Clarita Valley International School. Currently, Farnaz is the director of Global Educational Initiatives for iLEAD Schools. Farnaz received her degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University, where she attended on a full Army Scholarship. She received her teaching credential through the LAUSD District Intern Program and then later her master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, Northridge.

Kendra J. Muller (she/they) is a disabled, queer attorney employed at Disability Rights California (DRC), the nation’s largest non-profit disability rights firm. As a part of the Civil Rights Practice Group, Muller challenges civil rights violations by assisting in impact litigation, providing direct services to provide justice for historically marginalized and underserved communities, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans, unhoused persons, people of color, multilingual individuals, seniors, and low-income communities. Muller has worked directly within the community as the previous chair of the University of San Diego’s Name and Gender Change Clinic serving indigent clientele through the process of modifying state and federal identity documents. Muller serves as a board member for the San Diego County Bar Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Division, and a member of the California Name and Gender Marker Coalition.

Adrian Naidu (he/him/his) serves as the health equity officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and is charged with advancing health equity. Prior to joining CalPERS, he worked for DHCS on improving and advancing health care quality and equity provided at California’s public hospitals. Adrian is passionate about improving access to high quality, affordable and equitable care for all and has also previously worked as a Covered California Certified Enrollment Counselor helping individuals and families enroll in health plans through Covered California and Medi-Cal. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley and master’s degree in health policy and law at University of California, San Francisco and UC Law SF.

Dr. Scott Nass (he/him/his) is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and HIV Specialist™ and is certified in the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care. He currently holds the position of chief medical officer for the Transgender Health and Wellness Center in Palm Springs, Riverside, and San Diego. He is immediate past president for GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality, where he has served on the board of directors since 2014, and a member of the Medical Advisory Group for interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth. Dr. Nass earned his doctor of medicine degree at Charles R. Drew University and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles following a master’s degree in public administration at Indiana University-Bloomington. He went on to complete Family Medicine residency at Ventura County Medical Center, followed by fellowships in faculty development at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, health equity leadership at George Washington University, and primary care psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Nass holds academic appointments at Keck School of Medicine of USC, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and Western University of Health Sciences.

Taylor Priestley (she/her) is the deputy director of the health equity and quality transformation division at Covered California, the state’s health benefit marketplace. In this role, she leads health equity policy development and oversees implementation of Covered California's health equity and quality transformation initiatives. She has served as Covered California’s health equity officer since 2018. Taylor started with Covered California in November 2012 and helped launch Qualified Health Plan selection and certification, plan contracting, and standard health and dental benefit plan designs. Taylor joined Covered California after extensive work in health and intervention programs for low-income and vulnerable populations at CommuniCare Health Centers, Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) Head Start, and the YWCA of Sonoma County.  She holds master’s degrees in social welfare and public health from the University of California, Berkeley, where she researched pediatric oral health disparities with a focus on access to care.

Morey Riordan (he/him/his) is the founding director of the Transgender Strategy Center (TSC), a Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) led and serving organization that provides capacity building and grantmaking to TGNC communities. Prior to TSC, Morey served in the executive director role with several community-based organizations focused on HIV care and prevention, as well as LGBTQ health and rights. He also spent 10 years in the field of philanthropy, both as a senior leader at AIDS United, and as a consultant with a variety of funders. Morey is on the Board of Directors of ETR, an organization committed to advancing health equity, and is the co-chair of the PTA at Oakland School for the Arts. In 2021, he was selected as the Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshall for the San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade.

Skyler Rosellini (he/him) is a senior attorney at the National Health Law Program in Los Angeles. He comes with 20 years of experience in LGBTQIA+ activism. Before joining NHeLP, Skyler was a senior attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid’s (BayLegal) Health Consumer Center (HCC), where he advocated for Bay Area residents’ health access rights across eight counties. At BayLegal, Skyler also served as outreach coordinator for the HCC. In this role, he provided training and education on health access to the community. He also supervised name and gender marker clinics with health access screenings for TGI communities. Prior to that, Skyler was in private practice and served on the board of directors for Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) from 2015 to 2019. Skyler received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College of California and a Juris Doctor degree from University of La Verne, College of Law.

Jacob Rostovsky (he/him/his) is a licensed psychotherapist and the CEO and founder of Queer Works, an LGBTQ+ mental health and homeless outreach non-profit in the Coachella Valley. While Jacob sat as the Chair of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board, he took an active role in influencing legislation both locally and nationally. As a licensed therapist, Jacob recognized in his educational journey the need for specific LGBTQ+ affirmative mental health care. Queer Works was founded with the hope to provide free and affirmative services for the community. Jacob is also working with DAP Health and Palm Springs Councilmember Christy Holstege to advocate, design and implement a Universal Basic Income pilot throughout Palm Springs which will give up to 180 individuals unrestricted monthly stipends for 18 months with a focus on the transgender and nonbinary community. Most recently, Jacob was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to a State Board position.

Dr. Ryan Spielvogel, MD, MS, (he/him) is a family physician and faculty at the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program in Sacramento, where he specializes in adult and adolescent transgender medicine. His focus as faculty and as medical director for the Gender Health Center of Sacramento has been on educating the next generation of physicians in providing quality gender-affirming care.

Jason Tescher (he/him/his) is the manager of the gender health equity section in the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Office of Health Equity. Prior to joining CDPH, Jason worked as the grassroots and political organizing specialist for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and served as the Transgender Law Center’s first health policy director. Jason’s state service began at the California Department of Insurance as part of the team tasked with implementing the Affordable Care Act where his specialty was health coverage issues impacting vulnerable communities including and especially LGBTQ Californians. In 2011, Jason led efforts to promulgate and implement first-in-the-nation regulations banning discrimination against transgender people in health insurance and produced groundbreaking analyses used by other states and the federal government to eliminate these discriminatory practices. Jason is a proud queer person with a strong commitment to his community and public service.

Katalina Zambrano (she/her/ella) is the dedicated and passionate executive director of Somos Familia Valle Central, a Latino-based LGBTQ resource center located in Merced, California. With a background in the local adult and juvenile criminal justice and child welfare systems, Katalina has leveraged her lived experiences to advocate for and create safe spaces for LGBTQ individuals in the community. Since 2015, she has been conducting cultural humility and competence workshops in Merced and Stanislaus counties, providing training to homeless shelters, local police departments, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, public health, and local school districts. Katalina's tireless efforts and dedication to the LGBTQ community have earned her widespread recognition and respect within the Merced area and beyond.

 

About DMHC:

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) protects the health care rights of 28.4 million Californians and ensures a stable health care delivery system. The DMHC Help Center has assisted 2.6 million Californians to resolve complaints and issues with their health plan. The DMHC Help Center provides assistance in all languages and all services are free. For more information visit www.HealthHelp.ca.gov or call 1-888-466-2219.