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Raising Physicians Knowledge through a Simple Intervention can Improve Transgender Care

Lack of physician knowledge about transgender medicine is a barrier to care. Transgender patients report difficulty finding knowledgeable providers and transgender medicine is not covered by conventional medical curricula. A study published in the journal Endocrine Practice (2015;21(10):1134-1142), demonstrated that a simple change in the training curriculum to include a single lecture about transgender medicine can improve care. This intervention was given to junior doctors in Boston, USA in 2014 who were training in internal medicine and family medicine. An anonymous survey assessed the doctors’ knowledge and willingness to assist with hormonal therapy before and after the lecture and found that the lecture significantly increased doctor’s knowledge and willingness to assist with hormonal therapy for transgender patients from 5% to over 70% and improved understanding that gender identity has a biologic basis that remains constant and that hormonal and surgical therapies should be offered. This type of intervention is simple and has the ability to significantly improve access to care and outcomes for transgender individuals. As such, training in transgender medicine should be made available in all doctors-in-training and medical students who may be involved in transgender care.