The web-based guidelines provide peer-reviewed medical guidance for providers and patients and are the first of their kind in the nation.
“This protocol addresses real issues faced by the transgender community,” said E. Michael Reyes, MD, MPH, the principal investigator of the center. “When half of transgender patients report having to teach their medical providers about transgender care, you know there are tremendous opportunities for education.”
The guidelines were developed by the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health with the support of eight physicians with extensive experience treating transsexual patients and include topics ranging from mental health to fertility and aging.
Special considerations are necessary, for example, when advising transgender patients on diet and lifestyle as they may be intentionally adding or restricting calories in an effort to more closely match their preferred gender. Additionally, individuals taking hormones should be screened for osteoporosis and many types of cancers for which hormones may increase risk.
“UCSF has developed an incredible resource that helps ensure both the provider and patient are asking the right questions,”said Lori Thoemmes, director of the AIDS Health Project in San Francisco. “More importantly, it’s available to anyone in the world, including providers who lack experience working with transgender patients.”
Ongoing monitoring of the guidelines and response to new developments in the field of transgender medicine will be a priority for the center.
More than 350 health care professionals representing 30 states attended the National Transgender Health Summit at UCSF, the most extensive transgender health education program to date sponsored by a medical school in the US.
The comprehensive primary care protocol was supported by a grant from The California Endowment and made public during last month’s National Transgender Health Summit held at UCSF. Attended by more than 350 health care professionals representing 30 states, the summit was the most extensive transgender health education programming to date sponsored by a medical school in the U.S.
The efforts of the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health are focused on improving the overall health and well-being of transgender individuals by developing and implementing programs in response to community identified needs. Its projects incorporate the transgender community’s perspectives by actively engaging a national advisory body of 14 transgender identified leaders from throughout the country.
The protocol is available free of cost through the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health website.
Photos by Jordan Blaza