May 10, 2021
Kansas City, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System recently performed its 100th gender-affirming surgery.
The teams have provided facial feminization and mastectomy and chest contouring (top surgery) for patients in Greater Kansas City and beyond for many years. As the region's most advanced, comprehensive program within 500 miles, the teams introduced multidisciplinary gender-affirming surgery in 2018.
Meredith Gray, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist and director of gender diversity services, oversees the transgender care program that has served so many patients in a short period of time. For her, the role has been a natural fit.
“I’ve felt connected to the LGBTQ community for as long as I can remember,” she says. “Since arriving at the health system, I’ve been so impressed with a very welcoming and supportive environment. Moving forward, I want to spread knowledge of our services and our team to health system employees and the community.”
The care team's office is in the Medical Pavilion on the main campus, with surgeries performed in the main hospital. The surgical team takes a multidisciplinary approach to gender-affirming care, combining plastic surgery, reconstructive urology and gynecology.
Rachel Locks, a visiting medical student in her 4th and final year of clinical rotation, assists in the operating room and says her timing could not have been better.
“I was saving my final year for after the peak of COVID-19 because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be in the operating room,” she says. “It’s an amazing team here.”
In addition to her contributions as a medical student, Locks also was a patient of the program, undergoing gender-affirming surgery herself in August 2020. That day and every day since has been very meaningful to her.
“My experience here has been nothing short of affirming and feeling accepted,” she says.
For Dr. Gray, services provided through the program bring immeasurable value to the health system’s staff and patients.
“What I have found is people are very willing to learn. Once they meet the patients we’re taking care of, it becomes something they feel passionate about as well,” Dr. Gray says. “As a result, we all want this important effort to continue to grow.”
Learn more about our gender-affirmation services.