Understanding the Medical Needs Associated With Transgender Health

The Fenway Institute is hosting its upcoming Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health conference. The program will include education on transgender medical care as well as how clinicians and people within this community can interact and the former can understand the latter’s needs when it comes to preventative and acute care.

Boston-based Fenway Health has been a community-based medical care organization focusing on equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and research and education for 50 years. Fenway focuses on LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities. The organization’s, Fenway Institute, is hosting its 7th annual Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health conference later this week. The virtual meeting is for both providers and members of the transgender community.

The conference is designed to train health care teams in providing responsive and confident gender-affirmative health care, grounded in research evidence and best clinical practices. Clinicians are not trained in medical school to understand the unique health challenges for transgender and gender-diverse patients as well as how to engage in dialogue in conversations about health with these patients, explained Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, director of Education and Training Programs, The Fenway Institute.

“Gender-affirming care is not something that’s part of the standard curriculum typically for members of health care teams…it is not something we learn in our formative training,” Keuroghlian stated.

Keuroghlian has organized the educational program for the conference and says there is a robust schedule of sessions that will include a number of areas related to transgender and gender-diverse health as well as infectious disease-related topics including HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Sessions are led by expert faculty specialized in gender-diverse focused research and patient care. The featured keynote speaker is Rachel Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services. The preconference is on September 30, and the conference runs October 1 to October 3. For people who are interested in attending, they can register here.

Contagion spoke with Keuroghlian recently about the importance of the upcoming conference, understanding the unique challenges associated with medical care for the transgender community, and offers insights and resources for providers to consider accessing for conversations they may have with their transgender patients.