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Health & Healthcare

Transgender Community Underserved in Healthcare

The transgender community is under-served medically as the healthcare system does not fully recognize their needs (  One reason is that the national surveillance system does not follow them. They are considered a subpopulation of LGBT, a group that the federal government does not document in terms of medical records. A recent study in LGBT Health, is shining light on this issue. The study used a new method to collect and analyze data using a clinical sample of individuals who were transgender. Mary Ann Liebert Inc., the publishing company behind LGBT Health, made this report free and available on their website.

The study was a combination of forces employing the Harvard School of Public Health, Sari Reisner, ScD, Fenway Health of Boston and Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. Healthcare issues were compared between transgender and non-transgender patients. Issues such as suicide attempts over the course of one’s lifetime, HIV contraction, substance abuse and stressful social issues (discrimination and violence) were measured.

The article illustrating this study’s research is titled, “Transgender Health Disparities: Comparing Full Cohort and Nested Matched Pair Study Designs in a Community Health Center.” Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York and editor-in-chief of LGBT Health, William Byne, MD, PhD stated on this study, “Clinic-based samples and patient-related data are under-utilized sources of information about transgender health, particularly in community-based, urban health centers that typically serve large numbers of transgender patients. Reisner and coauthors describe a method of handling such data to provide valid results while maximizing efficiency with respect to time and resources.” It is important that medical facilities across the nation adopt this method of handling the data. The federal government has enacted legislation to start addressing the issues the transgender population face. Still, more must be done to address the healthcare issues of this population which is so vulnerable yet has few resources dedicated to addressing their needs. They need more outreach, education and awareness campaigns. The bottom line: they need to be given the proper attention for their unique situation.

Dr. M. Mirza, LGBT Health Wellness – 2014

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