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OHSU is a leader in comprehensive gender-affirming care across the lifespan

woman smiling, listeningOHSU Transgender Health Program Supervisor Amy Penkin (center) attends a press conference held by City Commissioner Nick Fish, OHSU and Portland-metro businesses celebrating the successful completion of the All-User Restroom Challenge, holding a press conference at OHSU's Center for Health & Healing, Dec. 21, 2017. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

The OHSU Transgender Health Program, formally established in January of 2015, has continued to experience significant growth and successful development as a comprehensive gender center and leader in transgender health care not only in Oregon, but the United States.

OHSU is the only academic health center in the United States to offer high-quality, comprehensive gender-affirming care for individuals across the lifespan. The program also strives to advance a vision of safe, affirming and welcoming care for all transgender and gender nonbinary individuals at every touch point across the organization.

This is achieved not only through skilled clinical care but through ensuring an environment that is inclusive -- everything from the ease of accessing a restroom to how someone is documented in the medical record to ensuring that all people are addressed by their appropriate name and pronoun. 

While there have been many accomplishments over the course of the program’s development, 2017 has proved to be the most productive to date.

Listed below are the many highlights and accomplishments of 2017. While we celebrate these milestones, we know the work is far from done, and 2018 will bring initiatives to further the vision of high-quality care and health equity for transgender communities.

We welcome those interested in supporting the vision and mission of the program to join our monthly Transgender Health Program Committee meetings, which are open to the public. More information about these meetings and other program activities are available here: www.ohsu.edu/transhealth.

Amy Penkin, M.S.W., L.S.C.W., is supervisor of the OHSU Transgender Health Program.

2017 accomplishments

Organizational

  • Healthcare Equity Index submission with preliminary 100 percent score
  • Approval and implementation of Gender Designated Facilities Policy
  • Hosted visiting clinicians from Switzerland, Holland, Italy and throughout the United States to learn from the model being established at OHSU
  • MSW internships in 2016 and 2017 to promote trans-affirming professional practice in the field of social work
  • Dedicated resident/fellow training in trans care in multiple specialties and primary care
  • Presence in the academic environment – School of Medicine and School of Nursing guest lecturing by Transgender Health Program faculty, staff and volunteers
  • Multiple new hires to improve access and breadth of care for transgender patients: Kat Campos, N.P. (Urology); Jon Witten, M.D. (Urology); Michelle Cappadonna, C.E. (Plastic Surgery)
  • Workforce education to raise awareness of the needs of transgender patients; nearly 2,000 employees participated in 75 sessions this year (2016 = 50 sessions, 2015 = 36 sessions)

Patient care

  • Launch of patient education classes focused on surgery preparation (twice monthly) and fertility preservation (quarterly)
  • Development of a patient- and family-centered intake and screening process for pediatric endocrinology, resulting in an increase in clinic accompaniments (2017 = 150 new patient visits, 2016 = 65 new patient visits)
  • Development and launch of intake/screening process for phalloplasty surgical cases to promote education and readiness for complex surgery
  • Relationship established with and referrals accepted through Military Health to serve active duty service people for specialty surgical care
  • Relationship established with and referrals accepted through British Columbia Trans Health to serve Canadian residents for specialty surgical care
  • Relationship established with and referrals accepted through Oregon Department of Corrections to serve inmates for specialty surgical care
  • Calculation of 600 unique transgender visits at the Center for Health & Healing per month
  • Significant growth in surgical program
  • Expansion of access to trans-affirming primary care: Beaverton/Orenco clinics
  • Establishment of twice monthly Trans Clinic at OHSU Richmond Family Medicine clinic staffed by Transgender Health Program physician, office staff and volunteers
  • Continuation of one, half-day weekly Trans Clinic for gynecology held in a gender-neutral space outside of the Center for Women’s Health

Community

  • Collaboration with Trans Active Gender Center to increase support to pediatric patients and their families
  • Hosted Transgender Day Of Visibility and supported Transgender Day Of Remembrance events
  • Co-sponsored four identity document clinics in Portland-metro area to assist with name and gender change process
  • Co-sponsored a transgender specific open enrollment clinic to assist with insurance coverage through Affordable Care Act and Oregon Health Plan
  • Provided support and testimony in support of DMV 3rd gender marker
  • Provided support and testimony in support of simplification of name change process (HB 2673).  Also sat on Rules Advisory Committee to assist with implementation
  • Growth and expansion of Transgender Health Program Volunteer Program to support peer-to-peer activities
  • Multiple presentations at national/international conferences by Transgender Health Program staff and clinicians

Amy Penkin, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., is supervisor of the OHSU Transgender Health Program.

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