CarePlus Foundation to Host Educational Conference for Healthcare Professionals on LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Gender Affirming Care

Ryan Sallans, Renowned Transgender Speaker, Author and Advocate, to Provide Keynote Address 

Paramus, N.J. (March 29, 2023) - The CarePlus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the innovative and life-changing programs and services of Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”) and its subsidiaries, will be hosting its annual Educational Conference titled “LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Gender Affirming Care,” on Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Bergen Community College’s Ciccone Theatre in Paramus, N.J. The conference will provide healthcare professionals with a deeper understanding of identity development regarding orientation, gender, and forms of expression and explore the impact of discrimination, mistreatment, and stigma LGBTQ+ people routinely face. The conference is approved by the National Association for Social Workers (NASW) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) for four continuing education hours. 

Conference attendees will come to understand the trauma LGBTQ+ people may suffer from simply expressing their sexual and gender identity as well as obtain a comprehensive understanding of the serious health disparities the LGBTQ+ community faces regarding behavioral health, physical health, and access to care. Participants will also learn how to develop communication skills and strengthen interactions with members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Ryan Sallans, an inspirational transgender speaker and author specializing in inclusion, diversity, and healthcare will provide the keynote address. As an internationally recognized gender identity expert, Ryan specializes in building inclusive environments and trauma-informed care for students, patients, employees and clients, drawing from his personal experience with his own transition. His training is designed to enhance attendees’ understanding of current health trends impacting LGBTQ+ clients, identify current barriers within healthcare settings, and discuss ways to improve clinician-client communication and interactions.

Joining Sallans is Joe Kort, Ph.D., LMSW, who specializes in sexual identity issues, and LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy. Dr. Kort’s career focuses on advancing the social acceptance and professional treatment of issues surrounding sexual health as well as the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

Jen Velten, MA, LPC, ACS, CCTP, DRCC, Director of Trauma Services at CarePlus NJ will provide insights from her experience working with families and clients identifying as LGBTQ+. Velten uses her experience in trauma work to help families navigate what can be a challenging time in identity development and emerge on the other side in acceptance and continued love for one another. Dr. Kort and Velten will provide context and guidance on engaging youth, families, and providers to create a safe, inclusive space within care settings.

“Discrimination, prejudice, and stigma towards members of the LGBTQ+ community is increasingly common and can result in significant and complex trauma,” said Velten, Director of Trauma Services at CarePlus NJ. “The goal of this conference is to help educate healthcare professionals, counselors, educators, allies, families, and the community at large on the challenges LGBTQ+ folks may face. We want to establish a deeper comprehension of identity development for all folks which includes being open to increasing understanding around orientation, gender, and forms of expression through a lens of inclusion and belonging. Ultimately this will lead to better mental health and well-being outcomes and most importantly a community of compassion and embracing all.” 

The cost of registration is $120. LCSWs, LPCs, and LCADCs will receive four continuing education hours for participating in this course. All participants must attend the full conference day and must complete the course evaluation online. Certificates of Completion and Continuing Education Certificates will be awarded to participants who meet all requirements at the end of the conference. 

For more information on the conference, to register, or learn about available sponsorship opportunities, visit Contact for more information or with any questions regarding continuing education hours.

About the CarePlus Foundation

CarePlus Foundation, Inc. (“the Foundation”), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the innovative and life-changing programs and services provided by Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”) and its subsidiaries. Since its inception in 1998, the mission of the Foundation has been to support programs and services that help provide care and support for individuals affected by mental illness, as well as education and outreach to decrease the stigma of the disease. Employing a comprehensive approach to decreasing the stigma of mental illness, the Foundation specializes in providing direct support, advocacy, and community involvement. All proceeds directly benefit CarePlus clients through medication aid, housing support, services, training, and educational scholarships. To learn more about CarePlus Foundation, visit

About CarePlus NJ

For more than 45 years, Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”) has been a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children in northern New Jersey. Based in Paramus, New Jersey, CarePlus NJ is committed to providing the most comprehensive integrated treatment options through 80+ programs designed to meet the full spectrum of health and wellness needs for adults and children in the communities it serves. Specializing in acute care, CarePlus NJ provides immediate, high-quality health services and support programs for individuals in crisis. Nationally ranked for excellence in customer satisfaction by the Mental Health Corporations of America, CarePlus NJ is mission driven ensuring that anyone who needs it has access to specialized care. To learn more about CarePlus NJ and its wide range of programs and services, visit

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