Arizona State University (ASU) will complete a five-year, $12.5 million CDC study to gauge the efficacy of the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. ASU’s Biodesign Institute will team up with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Valleywise Health to recruit study participants.
In a press release earlier this month, ASU explained that the study would have two components: measuring the flu and COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness during the flu season, and vaccine-induced immune responses over time.
The first component will assess over 1,000 participants infected by the flu or COVID-19. In doing so, researchers will identify communities disproportionately impacted by the flu or COVID-19, as well as the genomic subtypes and variants present within the participants.
The second component will assess about 250 participants who received both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. ASU disclosed that the purpose of this second component of the study is to better understand the impact of repeated vaccination on vaccine effectiveness.
The coalition’s clinical experts will be Joanna Kramer with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Jeffrey Curtis with Valleywise Health, and Mario Islas with ASU. There will also be a number of team members hailing from various ASU schools and colleges: Vel Murugan, a primary investigator; Yunro Chung, a biostatistician; Efrem Lim, a virologist; Matthew Scotch, a molecular epidemiologist; Leah Doane and Cruz Cruz, health disparity experts; Mitch Magee, a clinical researcher; and Craig Woods, a clinical site manager.
Murugan said that the present state of the Valley makes it the perfect location for the study.
“Phoenix is a very fast-growing area with a diverse population, which is changing economically and demographically every day,” stated Murugan.
RAIVEN sites conduct randomized trials to evaluate flu vaccine efficacy on those aged 18-64 years old. This fall’s trial compares the efficacy of the recombinant flu vaccine versus a standard dose egg-based flu vaccine. Trial participants receive one of the two study vaccines over the course of two flu seasons: 2022-23 and 2023-24.
The other Vaccine Effectiveness Networks are the Flu Vaccine Effectiveness (VE), Influenza and Other Viruses in the Acutely Ill (IVY), New Vaccine Surveillance Network, VISION Vaccine Effectiveness Network, Respiratory Virus Transmission Network (RVTN), and Randomized Assessment of Influenza Vaccine Efficacy Network (RAIVEN).
Arizona is also home to study sites for the VE, IVY, RVTN, and RAIVEN.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs’ husband, Patrick Goodman, serves as a counselor for Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s (PCH) Gender Support Program (GSP).
As AZ Free News reported in August, PCH’s program provides the only comprehensive “gender-affirming care” via transition in the state. After widespread reporting of the program, PCH removed much of the content related to its programs and services from its website.
Goodman and his colleagues within the GSP consult with children for the application of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Goodman also testified in an ongoing lawsuit to force the state to issue corrective birth certificates based on gender identity, filed by several transgender children and their parents against the state, Roe, et al v. Herrington, et al.
Goodman was the mental health provider for one of the children in the case, then a 10-year-old referred to as Jane Doe. The lawsuit was filed almost exactly two years ago, in November 2020. The latest action to occur in the case concerned the depositions of the Arizona Department of Health Services interim director Don Herrington this week.
Goodman’s medical notes concerning Jane Doe are sealed in the court case.
The state allows birth certificate changes after a sex change operation. The state doesn’t allow minors to undergo gender transition surgery, though they may still take puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
Hobbs opposed the most recent law banning gender transition surgeries for minors, as well as a law excluding males from female sports.
Hobbs said that preventing children from transitioning genders wasn’t protecting them.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital has now confirmed on a Twitter feed that their standard treatment for gender dysphoria is “gender-affirming care.” This is strictly bad news for Arizona’s troubled or gender-curious adolescents.
The wildly expanding world of transgender services has generated its own euphemisms, so a translation is in order. “Gender-affirming care” means that when any adolescent professes doubt or confusion about their gender, the only acceptable response is to agree that the child’s feelings are reality-based and immutable. Therefore, they must be encouraged to advance into treatment (more on that later).
Critics of this approach, even those simply urging caution, are ridiculed and threatened with professional sanctions.
Teenage females are the largest and fastest growing demographic for “transitioning.” Yet anyone who has raised, lived with, or been a teenage girl knows that they’re notoriously subject to mood swings and temporary infatuations.
Many adolescents today live in an Internet/social milieu that works to encourage transgenderism. Internet quizzes ask “Are you sure” you’re not trans.
Coming out as trans is seen as courageous. It is rewarded with admiration and respect. It can be seductive for teens with self-esteem issues and limited ability to foresee long-term consequences.
But the gender-affirming care model is unique in believing the feelings of a teenager alone justify life-altering medical and surgical treatments. There are no tests of any kind available to confirm or deny the diagnosis. According to this model, if the youngster reports they feel like the other sex, then they are transsexual. Period.
Gender dysphoria, feeling psychological discomfort with your biological sex, clearly exists. Some transgendered adults who made the considered decision to transform once maturity had been reached are living productive, satisfying lives.
Rare individuals who have been clearly gender dysphoric from birth seem to have a legitimate if ill-defined psychological disorder which can be ameliorated by passing as the opposite sex.
But these examples have no relation to the waves of transgendered teens now occurring. In her meticulously researched book “Irreversible Damage,” Abigail Shrier recounts interviewing hundreds of parents with essentially the same story.
They thought they were raising a bright, well-adjusted daughter with normal emotional riffs. Then, suddenly, supported by her authority figures, she comes out as “trans.”
By the time they realize what happened, the deed is done, often medications have been prescribed, and the parents are out of the decision-making loop. If they don’t fully cooperate, they can lose custody of their child.
The result of this approach has been a huge leap in the incidence of transsexualism. Until recently, about 0.3% of Americans identified as transgender. Among today’s youth, that number is 1.8% and climbing.
In 2007 there was one American “comprehensive pediatric gender clinic.” Now there are 60.
It’s not logically possible that an identifiable, biologically-based condition would undergo such an enormous increase spontaneously. Yet patients continue to pour in from school clinics and pediatricians’ offices.
But what about those treatments? Once on the track, younger patients (i.e., some grade schoolers) are given puberty blockers which delay the effects of sex hormones, essentially causing an arrested development.
Later in high school, patients are given the hormones of the opposite gender—most commonly testosterone for girls, followed by mastectomy and other surgeries to remove unwanted organs, implant facsimile organs, and produce desired cosmetic results.
These ministrations are depicted as benign and reversible, but they are neither. At a minimum, they permanently terminate key functions like fertility and breast-feeding. Complications of organ transplants like the phallus can produce grotesque results. The medical ethics of sacrificing a body function for aesthetic or psychological purposes is questionable at best.
The human toll of this departure from normal scientific standards of care is now coming into view. According to a 2022 study by the National Institutes of Health called “Suicidality Among Transgender Youth,” “56% of transgender youth reported a previous suicide attempt and 86% reported suicidal thoughts.”
We are in the throes of an epidemic, not a viral but a social one. PCH and the other group-thinking experts serve us poorly by promoting this faddish, non-medical behavior. They should review the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s (PCH) treatment for gender dysphoria in children is “gender-affirming care,” a euphemism for medical and surgical procedures to transition genders. Due to SB1138 which banned gender transition surgeries for minors earlier this year, PCH maintains its hormonal and therapy treatments but refers patients elsewhere for surgeries.
PCH asserts that they are the only children’s provider in Arizona with a comprehensive gender transition program. They assert on their website that it is lifesaving medical care.
PCH refers to gender dysphoric minors as “gender-expansive children,” though they offer two other nuanced terms to describe varying degrees of gender dysphoria. Those who “express a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with their sex assigned at birth” are considered gender-expansive, whereas those who are merely exploring and discovering gender identities are considered “gender questioning youth” and those who identify as a gender other than their own are considered “transgender youth.”
It appears that PCH’s adoption of the term “gender expansive” occurred in the last few years. As late as 2019, PCH referred to gender dysphoria as “gender dysmorphia.”
For a girl desiring to become a boy, gender-affirming procedures may include a testosterone prescription, hysterectomy, mastectomy, and metoidioplasty. For a boy, this may include an estrogen prescription, breast mammoplasty, orchiectomy, and vaginoplasty. Prepubescent children may be given puberty blockers. There’s emerging evidence that these procedures aren’t as irreversible as first thought, and appear to cause adverse health effects.
PCH offers hormonal and therapeutic services to children through their Gender Support Program. They also offer to assist with a minor’s identity transition for school and identifying documents, as well as their legal name change.
PCH told The Arizona Republic earlier this year that a child being below the age of consent doesn’t impact their services. Rather, they said that they allowed parents to make the decision on behalf of their children.
The PCH Gender Transition Program team members include psychologist Jenna Rudo-Stern, endocrinologist Reeti Chawla, adolescent medicine physician Veenod Chulani, and Gisel Trevino-Martinez, Patrick Goodman, Andrew Medina, Ijeoma Ogbuchiekwe, and Amira El-Ahmadiyyah.
Chulani is the chief of PCH’s adolescent medicine division. He created the gender transition program.
According to PCH, their Gender Support professionals train others outside the hospital through local, regional, and national lectures and workshops. PCH also provides referrals to peer support programs: One N Ten, Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization (AZTYPO), Gender Proud Patient and Family Advisory Council, and Transfamilies.
Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Superintendent Kathy Hoffman is a supporter of AZTYPO.
The Gender Proud Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is made up of parents who had their gender dysphoric children undergo PCH’s gender transition procedures.
One of PCH’s widely-shared cases is of a gender dysphoric girl, Sheila, who underwent procedures at PCH to become “Luke.”
The Gender Proud PFAC (source: Phoenix Children’s Hospital website)
Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) defended its administrators after they revealed in a mass email those who’d received exemptions to their COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In a lawsuit against PCH (CV2021-016638), two employees claimed that PCH’s email violated their privacy and disclosed their medical information negligently.
In a 24-page response obtained by Arizona Daily Independent, PCH attorneys insisted that the scope and impact of the pandemic overshadowed the exposure of the aggrieved employees’ vaccination status. They also insisted that the apparently inadvertent disclosure about which employees were unvaccinated didn’t constitute revelation of medical records.
“While the email acknowledges PCH granted the recipients a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine requirement, the email does not indicate the basis for any employee’s exemption. And the email reveals no medical diagnosis, condition, or circumstance about any recipient,” read the response. “Plaintiffs claim their vaccination status is a private fact or medical information. For a group of employees working in an acute care children’s hospital in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed more than 776,000 people in the United States, the disclosure of an employee’s vaccination status to other unvaccinated co-workers is not sufficient publicity to support an invasion of privacy claim. Similarly, Plaintiffs’ vaccination status is not the type of patient medical information protected from disclosure by the negligence claim they purport to state.”
Even though the identities of the unvaccinated were then shared on social media, PCH attorneys further claimed in their response that the disclosure wasn’t widely disseminated, reasonably offensive, or private. Their response also claimed that the employees’ vaccination status was of legitimate public concern due to the pandemic.
“A claim for public disclosure of private facts requires disclosure to the larger public, not simply an internal list of employees. It also requires the disclosure to be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Plaintiffs cannot show an alleged disclosure of their vaccination status to other unvaccinated co-workers meets those standards. Plaintiffs further cannot show that the email discloses private information about either of them or that sharing their vaccination status with other employees working at a pediatric hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic is not of legitimate public concern,” read the response.
In part, PCH attorneys drew the distinction between the disclosure of patient versus employee medical information when weighing legal precedent. Their response declared that the employees’ complaints about inappropriate disclosure of medical information was invalid because they were employees, not patients. They also asserted that employee vaccination status was of legitimate interest to the workforce.
“PCH did not maintain a list of unvaccinated employees for the purpose of patient diagnosis or treatment, but rather to aid PCH’s patient and employee health and safety efforts,” read the response. “Courts have found private published facts that are connected to public health and safety to be of legitimate public concern [….] Here, the matter of legitimate public concern is public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a statement to Arizona Daily Independent the employees’ attorney, Alex Kolodin, warned that this type of defense from PCH would only set a precedent to openly distinguish between the vaccinated and unvaccinated in the workplace.
“PCH is defending their breach of duty to their employees, not by acknowledging their mistake, but by doubling down,” said Kolodin. “Yesterday, in court filings, they submitted a brief that is essentially the unauthorized sequel to ‘If I did it.’ Their claim, essentially, is that the PCH employees whose private medical information they disclosed had it coming because employee vaccination status is ‘of legitimate interest to its workforce.’ They also warned the public that, if the Biden administration mandates are upheld, they may go further still and ‘make visible distinctions between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. This behavior, by a major hospital, is disappointing to say the least.”
Kolodin later assessed to AZ Free News that PCH made extreme claims in their response.
“It’s sensational. They’re bomb throwing – this is just judicial bomb throwing,” remarked Kolodin. “They’re just putting outrageous claims out there.”