Data on transgender individuals’ health in the U.S. is somewhat lacking because federal surveys haven’t historically inquired about gender identity and sexual orientation. But what data there is suggests that this population faces significant health care challenges. There are high rates of HIV among transgender women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other studies have noted that transgender-related medical care can be costly, particularly for patients who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn’t cover transition-related health care.
That’s why the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) recently hosted a one-day symposium on transgender medicine. The program’s speakers included Rachel Levine, MD, who is the first transgender woman to be appointed Physician General of Pennsylvania. Presenters discussed topics such as hormone treatments, counseling, surgical options and continuity of care.
Lisa McBride, PhD, the symposium’s co-chair, says this last area is especially important. “There is a lack of continuity of care among transgender individuals,” says Dr. McBride, who serves as PCOM’s chief diversity officer. “Because primary care providers are often on the front lines of treating this population, it was important for us to bring them together to understand not only how best to provide care, but to ensure that care is maintained throughout the health care system.”
To learn more, read PCOM’s coverage of the event.