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EMAILS: ECU's Child sex change clinic was established by its top medical directors

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

by: Sloan Rachmuth

  • ECU's top brass came together to start the new pediatric clinic

  • ECU pediatricians had no experience in prescribing puberty blockers or hormones, yet they put together trainings for medical school residents and other Faculty

  • The top priority for ECU docs was aggressively market the Pride Clinic to quickly ramp up demand and establish an institution dedicated to child sex changes

  • Staff sought training from a Planned Parenthood doctor, and a clinic that reportedly gives hysterectomies to 16 year olds

  • ECU's Pride Clinic was started with money from private donors earmarked for treating transgender children

ECU Health's CEO has repeatedly called the news of its transgender clinic for children politically motivated misinformation. Talking about the clinic among members of the public would threaten the safety of ECU employees, Waldrum said.

However, newly released emails from ECU Health show that Waldrum has been conducting a deflection campaign reminiscent of Bill Clinton circa 1998.

High-level ECU officials began planning a clinic to specifically treat children who wanted to change genders in January 2022 - at the same time the hospital rebranded after its merger with Vidant Health.

The plans show that ECU pediatric doctors and residents are prepared to use therapy, puberty blockers, and hormones.

These employees were required to participate in several clinic startup discussions according to emails:

Dr. Jason Higginson, Vice Dean ECU Health / Brody

Waldrum's direct reports, Jason Higginson and Michelle Brooks, and department heads Lacy Hobgood and Matthew LeDoux were integral to opening the clinic. This signaled ECU's intention to devote immense resources to the project. In addition to overseeing the clinic's operations and referring children for 'transitions,' their expertise could plan transgender training for medical students to staff the clinic as it grows.

Involving the director of corporate partnerships in clinic planning makes sense if drug manufacturers provide resources or funding, as the director could leverage those connections for additional support.

Cierra Buckman, Director of Pediatric Research

An important feature of the Pride Clinic is the involvement of the director of pediatric research. This is concerning because the director has the incentive to pursue unethical practices (like recruiting patients in local elementary schools) to secure grant funding. It also suggests that the university values research grants over children's safety.

Emails suggest that funding for the new clinic came from a restricted grant from Jesse R. Peel, the gay activist who funded the school's LGBTQ center. Peel attended clinic planning meetings to recommend ECU doctors receive training from radical child butchers from Duke and UC San Diego.

During these back door meetings with ECU's high-level faculty, Peel could be assured that his funds were utilized only for transitioning children.

During 2022, the Pride clinical team Dr. Angie Methai, Dr. Dendy, and pediatric researcher Ciara Buckman – traded drafts of clinic policies, brainstormed about potential revenue sources for expansion, recruited paid clinic workers, trained med school residents, and interviewed transgender doctors across the country to help train staff the emails show.

Research director Buckman indicated that ECU was seeking a transgender pediatrician full-time.

Email to director of clinic reportedly offering minor hysterectomies

Email to Planned Parenthood doctor

In conjunction with the former ECU physician's communication director, Rob Sphar, the Pride Clinic developed a marketing and promotion plan. The plan includes a series of educational events to familiarize the community with the services offered by the clinic.

As EFA reported in October 2022, the plan also includes getting teachers and social workers from local schools to send children to the clinic.

ECU Health's medical director Dr. Jason Foltz also knew about the clinic, according to emails.

ECU Chancellor Phillip Rogers tried to keep the plan under wraps at staff meetings. They also show that Rogers was trying to deflect attention from the clinic by launching a campaign about issues unrelated to the clinic.

Minutes from a Faculty Senate meeting

Notice how Rogers stressed the importance of reiterating the medical school's mission in outward communications. That's because ECU Health accepted private funding to generate demand for treating children with controversial experiments rather than fulfill its stated mission to improve rural health in Eastern North Carolina.


Michael Waldrum knew, should, or have known about the grant and Pride Clinic activities, as they were coordinated with the ECU vice dean, medical director, and communications director.

Despite this, he chose to deny the existence of the clinic and actively tried to discredit it, instead of admitting the truth.

Honesty in healthcare is critical in building and maintaining public trust, especially when it comes to training future physicians. Without honesty, how can the people of Eastern North Carolina make informed decisions about their healthcare?

People deserve to know the truth: ECU doctors are training to sexualize children, then study them, and treat them using dangerous off-label medications.

With their own campaign of disinformation, Michael Waldrum and others have eroded public trust in ECU Health and the Brody medical school.

As CEO, Michael Waldrum must be held accountable for his unethical and irresponsible behavior. Furthermore, the General Assembly must investigate the situation further to ensure children's safety is not compromised by unsafe research practices directed by outside donors.



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