Michelle Cretella

This content was last updated Nov. 15, 2023, 9:20 p.m. UTC

Dr. Michelle Cretella is an American pediatrician, conservative activist, and peer reviewer for the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. She is best known as the retired executive director of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a fringe conservative doctor’s group organized around their religious opposition transgender rights and various other issues, including LGBTQ+ rights regarding adoption and parenthood.

Cretella has written for or been featured on a variety of right-wing news outlets ranging from The Daily Signal to Fox News, various conservative and Catholic podcasts. She also served on the Advisory Board for the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, which explicitly supports conversion therapy.

See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender.

December 11, 2017 (transcript, video removed)

Education and Professional Life

An archived copy of Cretella’s biography from the American College of Pediatricians states she received her doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1994. Her residency was completed in 1997 at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and she continued to practice pediatrics until 2012, when she retired to devote more time to the American College of Pediatricians.

Cretella once served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality, a conservative group that pushed for conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people. She also holds or held memberships for the Catholic Medical Association and the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. Cretella has described herself as an anti-abortion advocate of twenty years and celebrates her role in teaching abstinence for a local Catholic school.

American College of Pediatricians

Cretella was elected to the Board of the American College of Pediatricians in 2005, three years after its initial founding by sixty religious conservative members of the American Academy of Pediatricians. The group cites its foundation as being in Judeo-Christian values, rather than scientific or medical evidence. Acting as the group’s president, Cretella has made appearances on Fox News decrying transgender children and their parents. ACPeds has roughly 700 active members as compared to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 67,000. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the organization as a hate group.

Leaked emails show the American College of Pediatrician’s efforts to encourage parents not to support their children who come out as transgender, their endeavors to work with conservative politicians to enforce anti-trans legislation, and attempts to frame LGBTQ+ parents as unsuitable via religious justifications. 

Other notable members of the group who worked alongside Cretella during her tenure include Quentin Van Meter, André Van Mol, and Paul Hruz.

Retirement from ACPeds

Cretella resigned her position as president in 2021. According to news reports on the contents of the leaked files, in Cretella’s exit interview for the American College of Pediatricians, she stated “I cannot recommend my position to anyone,” in a summary of her thoughts on the College’s search for a new executive director.

Further resources:

Contact The Trans Data Library

Contact Us


[('DefinedTerm', 'activism'), ('DefinedTerm', 'pediatrician'), ('DefinedTerm', 'podcasting'), ('Organization', 'American College of Pediatricians'), ('Organization', 'Advocates Protecting Children'), ('DefinedTerm', 'conversion therapy'), ('DefinedTerm', 'conservative'), ('DefinedTerm', 'gender-affirming care'), ('DefinedTerm', 'Catholic')]