A Response to What You May Have Seen on Social Media About PTWC
It has come to our attention that there is a press release about the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (PTWC) that is being shared on social media. That release contains several factual inaccuracies and misstatements, which we would like to correct here.
Mazzoni Center has been involved in the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (PTWC) every year since the very beginning. Charlene Arcila approached Mazzoni Center (then known as Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives) and asked the organization to write the application to obtain funds to pay for the conference and act as the fiscal conduit. As fiscal conduit, we sought funding, managed the budget, and covered many of the conference costs that were not funded.
Mazzoni Center’s outgoing COO, Ron Powers, wrote the first funding proposal in 2001 and was a member of the planning committee, which consisted of four people in the first year: Charlene Arcila, June Dizon, Ben Singer, and him.
The organization continued as fiscal conduit until 2006 when members of the planning committee approached with the request to make the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference “a program of Mazzoni Center” to ensure its future sustainability. As a program of Mazzoni Center, the organization is responsible for all policy, logistics, and funding. Mazzoni Center made two promises at that time and have kept both: (1) that the general conference be free to participants, and (2) that the conference content be community driven.
To meet the growth and changing needs of the conference, Mazzoni Center is considering revamping the way workshops are reviewed and approved. The organization will be creating a multidisciplinary review committee that follows the same process as the review committee for the conference’s Professional Track. We are also committed to increasing the transparency of the review committee, as well as expanding the diversity of reviewers and those involved in the planning of some aspects of conference to ensure we include more of the voices of those in the community this conference is designed for. In our vision, that advisory committee will be diverse and include trans-identified Mazzoni Center staff and community volunteers.
Neither plans for the interdisciplinary planning committee, nor the advisory committee have been finalized yet, but because the conference requires nearly a year to plan, certain aspects of the planning, such as the call for proposals, will be happening in parallel.
The PTWC is a Mazzoni Center program and represents a significant financial investment on the organization’s part. We remain committed to keeping the conference free, ensuring that it remains trans-led, and doing all we can to ensure it continues to meet the changing needs and expectations of the diverse community members who attend.