International Transgender Day of Visibility
As we recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, we want to highlight and celebrate some of the work happening to support gender-affirming care in the Department of Family Medicine.
The team at McMaster Family Practice (MFP) has been working on quality improvement projects to support trans-health and gender affirming care for their patients. One of these initiatives has focused on increasing cervical cancer screening for trans men, an often under-served group because of the stigma and discomfort associated with what are traditionally considered ‘female health issues.’
“Through this project, our team has not only increased the accessibility of information to patients, but also ensured that physicians are well equipped to provide respectful and honoring gender-affirming care,” said Jonah Brodeur, a second-year family medicine resident who is deeply invested in trans-health and gender-affirming care.
Another significant achievement has been to re-configure the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to identify and centre patient pronouns and preferred names. This was in response to patient pronouns being lost in the system, which contributed to the misgendering of patients.
“While this may seem like a small change, it makes a big impact to foster a clinical environment that feels inclusive and welcoming to all transgender and non-binary patients,” said Brodeur.
Although gender-affirming care is not universally taught in family medicine, the department has made a strong commitment to integrating and valuing this teaching across our sites. There have been active efforts to involve residents in building skills, empathy, and awareness to effectively and compassionately provide gender-affirming care. Most recently, a course on gender-affirming care is now being offered to all residents through Rainbow Health Ontario.
Cathy Risdon, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, started the first concentrated gender affirming care practice in the McMaster Family Health Team in 2012 when the clinic was located at the Main West site. She has been a preceptor to many residents who have gone on to have some degree of focused practice in gender affirming care.
“It is fantastic to see this work evolve over the years and I am incredibly proud of the commitment of our residents, faculty and staff in trans-health and gender-affirming care and commit to creating the space and sustaining the resources needed for this work,” said Risdon.News