A Guide to Gender-Affirming Care at USC - Daily Trojan

A Guide to Gender-Affirming Care at USC – Daily Trojan

A third of respondents to a 2015 National Center for Transgender Inequality survey who saw a provider in the past year shared at least one bad experience with a doctor or healthcare provider related to being transgender . (Christina Chkarboul | Daily Trojan Horse)

USC’s medical facilities – USC’s Keck School of Medicine and its various hospitals and USC Student Health, a branch of Keck Medicine – were honored as “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” in March, marking the sixth time USC Keck Medical Hospitals has received the distinction. This year, Student Health participated in the survey for the first time.

The title was only given to healthcare facilities that scored a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Healthcare Equality Index. The HRCF created the index in 2007 to create a national standard for LGBTQ+ patient care and examine the current state of healthcare facilities.

Keck and Student Health achieved impeccable results in four distinct criteria: non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.

The commitment to open dialogue with the LGBTQ+ community and how Keck engages with student voices was key to the high rating, said Care Team Senior Physician Dr. Patty Pinanong, saying the kind of Student Health.

Student Health established the Gender Affirming Care Center in 2013, after Pinanong’s team was approached by students who expressed a need for affirmation services at the University. Pinanong cited a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, which found that a third of respondents who had seen a provider in the past year reported at least one negative experience with a doctor or other healthcare provider related to being transgender. This widely reported lack of affirmative treatment by transgender people is one of the reasons Student Health’s multidisciplinary team is committed to meeting the needs of its patients.

“We have people from our mental health team, Relations and Sexual Violence Prevention and we also have people from our psychiatry team, so that’s the mental health component,” Pinanong said. “Then on the medical side, we want to make sure we’re providing really affirmative primary care.”

Student Health exclusively serves students, while Keck and its various hospitals serve patients in the greater Los Angeles area. Keck and its various hospitals did not have a gender-affirming care program until 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic provided an opportunity to redefine what it meant to have such a program.

“When the pandemic happened, many of our inpatient services were reduced. I had more time and it was time to really start developing, ‘What [did we want our] What will a gender-affirming care program look like? said Lindsey Morrison, process architect in Keck’s Office of Performance and Transformation and co-chair of Keck Pride, the resource group for LGBTQ+ employees.

During these discussions about creating a gender-affirming care program, Dr. Laura Taylor was also brought in. Morrison said hiring Taylor was the silver lining of the pandemic because it provided an opportunity to build a strong gender-affirming care program with passionate, newly onboarded doctors.

Taylor is now medical director of Keck’s Gender Affirming Care Program. She provides primary care and hormone management to transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming individuals, and is experienced in affirming preventative and gynecological screenings, mental health, sexual health, and HIV prevention, among others.

Alongside Taylor, other physicians and health experts are working together to create a robust program offering services including hormone therapy, voice therapy, STI testing and treatment, physiotherapy, mental health care, gynecological care, gender-affirming surgical and primary care, and chronic disease. disease management.

“[We worked] with Dr. Asked and really [modeled] what Student Health had already done to make sure we created a warm handoff between Student Health and the hospitals when students needed to come in for surgical care or higher level care that Student Health can’t provide,” Morrison said. .

Keck Medicine and its hospitals serve patients from throughout the greater Los Angeles area, while USC Student Health only serves college students. (Christina Chkarboul | Daily Trojan Horse)

Keck Medicine is proud of its dedication to collaboration and the steps it has taken to ensure the high quality of gender-affirming care, Taylor said.

“What I think we’ve done is push for practice. We had a core group of people interested in providing good care to the transgender and non-binary community and are working to have more ongoing collaboration and training for all physicians and providers involved,” Taylor said.

Keck Medicine officially entered into a strategic collaboration with the TransLatin@ Coalition in March to improve access to specialty care for the transgender community. Taylor said this partnership allows Keck to center the voices of transgender people, further developing a program tailored to the needs of the community.

“[The collaboration] has been really helpful in making sure we center the needs and voices of trans people in the community,” Taylor said. “We held focus groups and [have] I tried to figure out how we should deliver that care in a patient-centered, community-centered way.

Riley Davis, a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical instructor in Keck’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, said Student Health excels at interdisciplinary communication, providing students with timely access to the resources they need.

“[In their counseling appointment], students will say, “Hey, I’m interested in hormones and how should I proceed?” and I’m able to walk them through the process…and with the student’s permission, I can give a warning to the medical provider and say, “Hey, that’s what the student is going to look for and vice versa,” Davis said.

Keck and Student Health work together to provide student patients with a wide variety of resources, and the community of physicians and counselors help advocate for students every step of the way. Altogether, gender-affirming care programs at both Student Health and wider Keck Hospitals, Morisson said, represent the future of transgender/gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ+ healthcare.

“Because of the passionate and incredible people we’ve involved, I see USC as a world-class, gender-affirming care program,” Morisson said. “For everyone – for students, for adults – I really see us as a care destination.”

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