Ethics Grand Rounds, April 12, 2024 CDT

Separating Fact from Fiction: Developmental and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Gender Health

Zoom | Free | Open to the public
Angela Kade Goepferd, MD headshot
Angela Kade Goepferd, MD
Ian Wolfe headshot
Ian Wolfe, PhD, MA, RN, HEC-C


Even though an increasing amount of data shows the benefits of gender affirming healthcare for transgender and gender diverse youth and their families, in 2023 close to half of all transgender and gender diverse youth in the US lost their access to this essential care due to bans introduced in state legislature. Disinformation about pediatric and adolescent gender affirming continues to grow making conversations about care decisions increasingly difficult. While our social and cultural understandings of gender as a spectrum becomes more accepted, medical and public spaces for transgender folks have become more restrictive. The wide difference in opinion and variable access to accurate information can make it difficult to find a framework on how to ethically think about decisions relating to gender affirming care for youth.  

Good ethics start with good facts. Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd (they/them) will discuss the current social and cultural landscape of trans and gender diverse youth and explain gender identity and expression in the context of child development. Expanding on this foundation, Dr. Goepferd will explain how essential healthcare for transgender and gender diverse youth aligns with improved outcomes. Dr. Ian Wolfe (he/him) will then explore the ethical considerations that arise from the intersection of the cultural landscape and child development in the context of gender affirming care in pediatric patients.

Learning Objectives: After attending this webinar, attendees will be able to:

  1. Discuss the changing cultural landscape of trans and gender diverse youth
  2. Discuss gender identity and gender expression in the context of child development
  3. Explain the outcomes associated with providing essential healthcare for transgender and gender diverse youth.
  4. Explore the ethical considerations that arise from the intersection of the cultural landscape and child development in the context of gender affirming care in pediatric patients.

This is an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA), hosted by the Center for Bioethics, and co-sponsored by the following U of MN Units: Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, School of Public Health; Center for Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts; College of Pharmacy; Department of Pediatrics, Medical School; Medical School; Program in Health Disparities Research, Medical School; School of Dentistry; School of Public Health; School of Nursing.


Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, is the Chief Education Officer at Children’s Minnesota and medical director of Children’s Gender Health Program. Dr. Goepferd has been with Children’s for 18 years, and in that time has been an advocate for advancing equitable healthcare for all children, working to ensure a positive experience for patients, families and professional staff. In 2019, Dr. Goepferd launched the Children’s Gender Health Program, the first multispecialty pediatric program in the region, which drew over 200 patients in the first year and continues to grow. 

Dr. Goepferd is a leader in the LGBTQ community who is driving equitable care for LGBTQ youth, particularly transgender and gender diverse youth, and is a sought-after speaker and trainer on these topics.  In October of 2020, their first TED talk, “The revolutionary truth about kids and gender identity” was released by TEDxMinneapolis. They currently serve on the Board of Directors for Rainbow Health, an LGBTQ health and HIV advocacy organization. In October 2022, they received the distinguished Ellen Perrin Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Health and Wellness from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last year they were named the Grand Marshall for the Twin Cities Pride Parade for June 2023. 

Ian Wolfe, PhD, MA, RN HEC-C, is Director of Ethics, Clinical Ethics Department, Children's Minnesota; Community Instructor Faculty, Department of Pediatrics, U of MN Medical School; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Pediatric Ethics.  He earned his PhD in Nursing with a focus in bioethics, and his MA in Bioethics with a minor in Public Health and focus on health equity, from the University of Minnesota. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric bioethics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Dr. Wolfe has authored a broad range of journal articles that support his main interest which is how social, political and cultural systems issues affect clinical ethics and care at the bedside.

Dr. Wolfe is the current vice chair of the ethics advisory board for the American Nurses Association Center for Ethics and Human Rights. He has chaired and participated in other volunteer activities with state and national nursing and medical organizations such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and Society for Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Wolfe’s current areas of research focus on preventative and integrated ethics, parent-clinician interactions and decision-making, fetal health ethics, and the relationship of hospitals to the community.