Transhealth CEO Dallas Ducar Receives AACN Award

Apr 11, 2023

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Ducar receives the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award for her efforts to expand access to gender-affirming primary care, mental health services, and community health care

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – April 11, 2023 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) will present Dallas Michelle Ducar, MSN, RN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, CNL, FAAN, with its AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

The AACN Pioneering Spirit Award, one of AACN's Visionary Leadership awards, recognizes significant contributions that influence progressive and critical care nursing and relate to the association's mission, vision and values. The presentation will occur during the 2023 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, Philadelphia, May 22-24.

Ducar is founding CEO of Transhealth, an independent and comprehensive healthcare center in western Massachusetts that supports and empowers trans and gender-diverse individuals and families. The center opened in May 2021 and offers in-person, virtual and hybrid services to individuals and families throughout the greater New England region.

As CEO, she brings experience constructing clinical, research and education services in community-based, gender-affirming healthcare systems. She combines this leadership experience with front-line clinical experience in emergency, inpatient and outpatient care.

Before becoming CEO of Transhealth, Ducar served as clinical lead of mental health services for the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Transgender Health Program. In that role, she developed the first integrated psychiatric-mental health services within the program and worked with an interdisciplinary team to provide novel gender-affirming care. Ducar worked to develop pathways for all patients to receive psychotherapy, psychopharmacology and surgical assessments for lifesaving interventions.

She receives the AACN award for her efforts to expand access to gender-affirming primary care, mental health services and community healthcare, as well as education, advocacy and research related to the needs of transgender and gender-diverse people.

"Dallas is a true trailblazer, envisioning a world in which all patients have access to quality, compassionate care, and taking steps to make that vision a reality," said AACN President Amanda Bettencourt. "Her commitment that gender-affirming healthcare can be a model for all healthcare helps empower patients to get the care they want and educate providers to treat all patients with respect."

She is on the faculty at Columbia University, Northeastern University, University of Virginia (UVA) school of nursing, and the MGH Institute for Health Professions.

Ducar currently serves on the boards of directors for GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Healing Our Community Collaborative (HOCC) and the UVA Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access (IDEA) Fund. She is also co-chair of Primary Care Alliance, serves on the LGBTQI Federal Policy Roundtable, and advocates for gender-affirming care nationally.

She has advised international research groups on best practices and has carried out community-based participatory action research programs dedicated to empowering gender-diverse voices in a community setting. She has been the primary investigator on multiple research grants dedicated to improving the quality of care for gender-diverse individuals.

Ducar holds a BA in philosophy and cognitive science and an MSN in clinical nurse leadership from UVA. She completed executive education programs in healthcare economics and nonprofit financial stewardship at Harvard University.

About the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award: The annual AACN Pioneering Spirit Award recognizes significant contributions that influence progressive and critical care nursing regionally and nationally, and relate to AACN's mission, vision and values. Recipients of this Visionary Leadership Award come from business, academia and healthcare. Other Visionary Leadership awards, AACN's highest honor, include the Lifetime Membership Award and the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career.

About the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN's National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world's largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization's vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world's largest specialty nursing organization, with about 130,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; 949-362-2000;;;