Gender Development Specialists

Program Clinicians

Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH

Co-Director, Pediatrician (he/him)

Our co-founding Director, Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, is board-certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Dr. Garofalo also directs Lurie Children’​s Adolescent/Young Adult HIV Program, the Division of Adolescent Medicine, and the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention through the Lurie Children's Research Center. He is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He is a national expert on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health issues, as well as adolescent sexuality and HIV infection. Dr. Garofalo provides direct clinical care as a member of this team. View Dr. Garofalo's profile video. ​

Courtney A. Finlayson, MD

Medical Director, Sex Development Program; Endocrinologist (she/her)

Courtney Finlayson, MD, is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology. Dr. Finlayson completed her pediatric residency at Rush University and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Lurie Children’s Hospital (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital). She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Among her clinical and academic efforts, she leads the Gender and Sex Diversity Working Group of the Oncofertility Consortium, which seeks to improve fertility preservation options for individuals with differences in sex development and for those who are transgender. She provides direct clinical care as the endocrinologist in the Gender and Sex Development Program

Lisa K. Simons, MD

Clinical Practice Director, Lurie Children's Gender Development Program (she/her)

Dr. Simons is an attending physician in The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Simons attended medical school at Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed her pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. She completed her Adolescent Medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where she trained at the Center for Transyouth Health and Development.

Dr. Simons serves as the Clinical Practice Director of the Gender Development Program where she provides direct clinical care and participates in research. Clinical interests also include development of available educational resources related to gender health.

Raina Voss, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Lurie Children’s Gender Development Program and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (she/her)

Dr. Voss is an attending physician in The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Lurie Children’s and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is board certified in Pediatrics. Dr. Voss attended the University of Michigan for her B.S. as well as the University of Michigan Medical School. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Lurie Children’s. She completed her fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and earned her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Washington. Dr. Voss provides clinical care in the Gender Development Program and at the Erie Teen Health Center. In addition to the care of gender-diverse youth, Dr. Voss’ interests also include adolescent sexual health, adolescent primary care, and transition to adult healthcare for youth with chronic health conditions.

Diane Chen, PhD

Behavioral Health Director (she/her)

Diane Chen, PhD, is the Behavioral Health Director in The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Pediatrics, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She directs behavioral health services within the Gender & Sex Development Program and provides clinical care in the multidisciplinary clinics for transgender and gender expansive youth and for youth with differences in sex development. Dr. Chen maintains an active research program examining health risk behaviors, mental health functioning, and medical decision-making among gender- and sex-diverse children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Chen received her PhD (2012) and MA (2008) from Temple University, her BA (2004) from the University of Michigan, and completed her pre-doctoral internship (2012) and post-doctoral fellowship (2013) in clinical child and pediatric psychology at Lurie Children’s.

Claire Coyne, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist (she/her)

Claire Coyne, PhD is a medical psychologist in the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her clinical training and work has focused broadly on providing evidence-based individual, family and group treatments for at-risk youth and their families, including youth exposed to childhood trauma and transgender and gender-nonconforming youth. Dr. Coyne collaborates with the Center for Childhood Resilience to promote the use of evidence-based interventions and trauma-informed practices in community and school settings. Dr. Coyne provides direct clinical care through the Gender Sex Development Program.  

Dr. Coyne received her PhD in Clinical Science from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University (2014), and her BA (2004) from the University of Chicago. She completed her pre-doctoral internship (2014) and post-doctoral fellowship (2015) in clinical and pediatric psychology at Lurie Children’s.

Cherie P. Dhar MD

Fellowship Director, Adolescent Medicine Specialist (she/her)

Dr. Dhar is an attending physician in The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Lurie Children’s and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Dhar attended The George Washington University School of Medicine, completed her residency in Pediatrics at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio and fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Dhar is the Program Director of the Adolescent Medicine fellowship. Her clinical interests include adolescent reproductive and gynecologic health and the care of LGBTQ+ young people. 

Joel E. Frader, MD

Ethicist (he/him)

Joel E. Frader, MD, is A Todd Davis Professor of Academic General Pediatrics and Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Division Head, Pediatric Palliative Care at Lurie Children’s. He is a national leader in pediatric palliative care and bioethics. His interests focus on ethical issues of children in the health care system, especially ethical problems associated with innovation in medicine, organ transplantation, children with sex development conditions and gender identity, and end-of-life care decision making in pediatrics. His major clinical activity is in palliative and hospice care for children.

Noopur Gangopadhyay, MD

Pediatric Plastic Surgeon (she/her)

Noopur Gangopadhyay, MD,​ is an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Gangopadhyay completed specialty training in both craniofacial/pediatric plastic surgery reconstruction and microsurgery, with fellowships at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Gangopadhyay specializes in congenital, traumatic, and oncologic reconstruction, performing a wide variety of plastic surgery procedures for pediatric patients.

Dr. Gangopadhyay is involved in clinical outcomes research as well as education development. She is committed to academic plastic surgery, with 11 peer-reviewed publications, 6 book chapters, and 14 presentations at national meetings. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Jessie L. Ternberg award and the Plastic Surgery Resident Teaching award, during her training at Washington University in St. Louis, and has a strong interested in medical student and resident education. She is involved in several plastic surgery organizations, and serves as a committee member for many of these societies.

Aron C. Janssen MD

Vice Chair, Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health (he/him/his)

Aron Janssen, MD, is a clinical Associate Professor, and the Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Prior to joining Northwestern, Dr. Janssen was on faculty at the New York University Child Study Center, where he was the founder and director of the Gender and Sexuality Service and the co-director of the NYU Consultation-Liaison Service. His time there was defined by his innovative program development and delivery and community advocacy. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Colorado, and his general psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at NYU. Dr. Janssen is an expert in transgender mental health across the lifespan, and his primary clinical and research interests have focused on understanding co-occurring mental health disorders among transgender and gender diverse youth. Dr. Janssen’s work has been widely published, and he has had the privilege to present locally, nationally and internationally on his work. He is an associate editor of the journal Transgender Health, and sits on several international workgroups that are setting the standards of care for the World Professional Association of Transgender Health.  He is a member of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issue Committee for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and on the advisory board for the Trevor Project. His most recent book is Affirmative Mental Health Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth.

Jennifer L. Miller, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist (she/her)

Jennifer Miller, MD, is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology. Dr. Miller completed her pediatrics residency at Lurie Children’s and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the University of Chicago. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Among her clinical and academic efforts, she cares for children in the areas of diabetes, differences of growth, puberty, thyroid, and bone health, as well as children in the Gender Development Program. She provides direct clinical care as an endocrinologist in the Gender and Sex Development Program. 

Marleta Reynolds, MD

Pediatric Surgeon (she/her)

Marleta Reynolds, MD, is Lurie Children's Chief of Surgery and Professor of Surgery at the Feinberg School. Dr. Reynolds is board-certified in general surgery, pediatric surgery and surgical critical care. View Dr. Reynolds' profile video.

Jennifer Jensen, MSN, APRN-NP, CPNP

Adolescent Medicine Nurse Practitioner (she/her)

Jennifer Jensen, RN, MSN, CPNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Division of Adolescent Medicine. She has been on staff at Lurie Children’s (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital) since 2001. After having worked with HIV infected and affected adolescents and young adults in the Division of Special Infectious Diseases for more than 14 years, she joined the Division of Adolescent Medicine in December 2015. Jennifer received her BSN and MSN from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a nurse practitioner fellowship in Adolescent Health at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in June 2001. Her clinical interests include general adolescent health as well as providing care for gender non-conforming and transgender youth.​

Jon Poquiz, PhD

Psychology Fellow (he/him)

Jon Poquiz, PhD, is a psychology fellow in the Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. His clinical training focused on providing evidence-based treatment and assessment for children and adolescents presenting with developmental, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. He is receiving specialized clinical training providing clinical care for transgender and gender diverse youth as well as for youth with differences in sex development through Lurie Children’s Gender Sex Development Program. Dr. Poquiz is also engaged in research that broadly focuses on contextual factors associated with mental health and risk behaviors among gender and sexually diverse youth. Dr. Poquiz received his PhD (2019) and MA (2015) in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, and completed his doctoral internship (2019) in clinical child psychology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He also received a graduate certificate in LGBT Health Policy and Practice (2018) from George Washington University.

Paige Ryan, MSW, LCSW

Psychiatric Social Worke(she/her/hers)

Paige Ryan, LCSW, is a psychiatric social worker in The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. Paige is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Southern California (2014) and her Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Psychology at Northern Illinois University (2011). Paige provides direct clinical services to patients and families within the Lurie Children’s Gender and Sex Development Program (GSDP), a multidisciplinary team designed to support the physical and psychosocial health of children, adolescents, and young adults who are gender diverse. Prior to providing services at Lurie Children’s, Paige was an outpatient mental health therapist working with youth and their families in the Rockford area through Rosecrance Health Network. She has also provided outpatient crisis stabilization services to youth as a SASS Crisis Therapist, and she has provided addiction treatment in residential and outpatient settings. In her clinical work, Paige has utilized various therapeutic approaches, including harm reduction, Motivation Interviewing (MI), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches.

Ginny (Virginia) Scheffler, RN, BSN

Registered (Advanced) Nurse (she/her)

Ginny Scheffler is a registered (Advanced) nurse in the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Pediatric Gynecology since 2005. Ginny started her career as a student nurse at formerly Children’s Memorial and has been a nurse for over twenty six years with inpatient and ambulatory experience. She received her BSN from Loyola University. Her clinical interests include general adolescent health, gynecologic services and providing care for gender non-conforming and transgender youth. Ginny is a recipient of the Earl J. Fredrick Award and Nurse Exemplar Family Advocate in 2014.

Research Team

Afiya Sajwani, BA

Behavioral Research Coordinator (they/them/theirs)

Afiya is a behavioral research coordinator working on several locally and nationally-funded projects, including the mLab Study, TODAY! Study, Project AFFRMED, and Trans Youth Decision Making Project. They are also part of the Division’s sexuality education, programming, and HIV and STI testing teams. 

Victoria Kolbuck, MSW

Trans Youth Decision-Making Project

​Victoria is a research coordinator for Trans Youth Decision-Making Project. This study investigates how cognitive and emotional functioning affects medical decision-making in peripubertal transgender youth. Study findings will also inform the development of an assessment tool that would assist mental health clinicians in assessing youth’s understanding of the potential risks and benefits of pubertal suppression treatment.​

Program Staff

Gabriel Edwards, MSW

Gender Sex Development Program Coordinator (he/him)

Gabriel Jara-Almonte Edwards is a Clinical Social Worker with experience supporting families, children, and adolescents, community medical and mental health settings since 2011. Gabriel joined the Gender & Sex Development team after serving as the Associate Director of the TransLife Care Program at Chicago House and Social Service Agency for 2 years. As the Gender Program social worker, Gabriel provides ongoing patient centered and strengths based support to patients and families. In this role, Gabriel conducts intakes for individuals interested in the program, provides linkage to community resources and mental health supports and provides ongoing care to patients and families. Outside of Lurie Children's, Gabriel also conducts trainings across Chicago and mentors trans youth.

Gabriel received his Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and has spent 3 years with the Merchant Mariners here in Chicago.

Gia Guerrero

Administrative Assistant (she/her)

Gia Guerrero is the Point of Service for The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. She has worked at Lurie Children’s for the past 10 years including working in multiple outpatient clinics and has worked the past three years in the division.

Gia was born and raised on the North West Side of Chicago. She identifies as a Transgender Female. She has her CNA and, in addition to working at Lurie Children’s, works as a stylist. Gia hopes to pursue a career in nursing in the future.

Janay Joyce, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (she/her)

Janay Joyce is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with experience supporting families, children, and adolescents, community medical and mental health settings since 2004. Janay joined the Gender & Sex Development team after serving as the social worker in Lurie Children’s Primary Care clinic for two years. As the Gender Program social worker, Janay provides ongoing patient centered and strengths based support to patients and families. In this role, Janay provides linkage to community resources and mental health supports and provides ongoing care to patients and families. In addition to her work at Lurie Children’s, Janay has provided youth and family centered support at Youth Outreach Services, Alternatives Inc and North Lawndale College Prep High School.  

Janay received her Master’s in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and has been a Licensed Social Worker since 2010. Janay strongly encourages patients and families that are interested in our program to reach out!

Josephine Kearns

Program Coordinator, TransMentor Program

Josephine Kearns serves as Program Coordinator for the TransMentor Program at Lurie Children’s, the first program of its kind in the United States. In her role she also conducts training sessions around gender diversity for schools and other organizations. Josephine is also a longtime theatre artist, working as a stage manager, production manager, and dramaturg specializing in transgender and queer productions, and is an Associate Artist with TimeLine Theatre in Chicago. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from George Washington University.

Logan Pierce

Program Assistant (he/him)

Logan is the Program Assistant for the Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent Young Adult Medicine’s Community Education team. Logan supports the Gender Development Program by organizing the Gender Play Groups, the Teen Parent Group, and providing support for the TransMentor program.