Transgender and non-binary Oregonians have greater access to gender-affirming health care at Oregon Health & Science University and beyond, thanks to the continued enhancements and growth of OHSU’s Transgender Health Program.
OHSU’s recent efforts include adding more staff members, creating a virtual consult service for patients outside the Portland area, and helping healthcare workers across the State to better serve transgender and gender-diverse patients.
OHSU’s Transgender Health Program was launched in 2015 to ensure patients receive respectful, quality health care, regardless of their gender identity. Caring for more than 6,000 adult and youth transgender patients, OHSU has one of the largest and most comprehensive transgender health programs in the United States.
“We are excited to introduce this next phase of expansion of OHSU’s Transgender Health Program,” said Gina Hawley, Dr.PH, MHA, vice president of professional and support services at OHSU. “OHSU is proud to serve transgender people in Oregon and beyond. Even during the unprecedented times and ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in our infrastructure and support illustrates our commitment to providing quality, compassionate care to our transgender communities.
To support this growth, Aedan Coffey, MPH, became the program’s first-ever director in December 2021. As program administrator, he provides strategic and business leadership to ensure the program has the resources it needs to continue providing gender-affirming care. in the future. Coffey is dedicated to helping underserved communities receive the health care they need. The same time, Amy Penkin, MSW, LCSWwho has been with the program since 2015, continues to oversee its clinical leadership under a new title, Clinical Program Manager.
Others who have joined OHSU’s healthcare efforts for gender equality over the past year include:
Plastic surgeon Blair Peters, MD, assistant professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine after completing a fellowship in gender-affirming surgery at OHSU. Peters offers the full range of facial, thoracic and genital surgery.
Pediatric endocrinologist Charlene Lai, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology) at OHSU School of Medicine. Lai is part of the OHSU Doernbecher Gender Services team that provides puberty-related care to youth and adolescents.
Assistant doctor Stéphanie Tarlow, PA-C, CDES, an instructor in pediatrics (endocrinology) at the OHSU School of Medicine, and also a member of the OHSU Doernbecher Gender Services team.
nurse practitioner Elizabeth Yiu, MSN FNP-C, instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at the OHSU School of Medicine. Yiu is part of the OHSU team that specializes in providing hormone therapy, gender-affirming gynecological and obstetrical care.
Kael Tarog a patient navigator who handles all requests from program patients, including scheduling assistance and inquiries from people wishing to become new OHSU patients. Tarog allows the program to respond to most requests within two business days. Over 2,300 applications were received in 2021.
Hales Skelton, BA, a care integration specialist who streamlines and improves access to gender-affirming surgery within OHSU’s Department of Urology. Skelton helps ensure that urologic surgery plans stay on track by helping patients meet pre-surgical requirements.
In addition, Kelly Jeske, LCSW, in mid-February will become the program’s second social worker. Jeske will further connect patients to community resources, help coordinate care and provide behavioral health support. OHSU also plans to hire a second electrologist, which could double the number of pre-surgical hair removal services offered by OHSU.
To better serve patients outside of the Portland area, the program also launched the Transgender Health Virtual Consultation Clinic in July 2021. The virtual service connects patients referred by their local primary care provider with a OHSU provider for consultation on hormone therapy and other genders. care. This new service offers technical expertise to local primary care providers who need help helping their gender-diverse patients overcome specific gender-related health issues. Providers who wish to refer their patients to this service can email [email protected]
As part of the Transgender Health Program’s efforts to continue to offer gender-affirming information to OHSU providers who may not be directly involved with the program, it has launched its own quarterly lecture series. Scientific conferences are traditionally designed for healthcare professionals to share their expertise with each other. The program’s new series features transgender and gender-diverse patients sharing their own experiences and perspectives with the healthcare community. A list of upcoming major rounds and recordings of previous conferences are available in the “education and events” section of the program website.
In addition, the Community Advisory Board for the Transgender Health Program now has 10 members. The council engages in policy review, employee recruitment, community engagement, and educational activities to promote a welcoming and gender-affirming care environment. More information can be found in the “how to get involved” section of the program website.
Program Medical Director Christina Milano, MD, and Tarog are also part of the core team that designed and are currently hosting a virtual series on gender-affirming primary care and hormone therapy for healthcare providers. The inaugural 15-part series is hosted by the Oregon ECHO Network, which offers interactive online educational programs for Oregon healthcare professionals. The current series has entered 91 participants and is closed to new registrants, but a repeat series may take place in the near future. Those interested in participating in the future can register on the Oregon ECHO Network website.