Our very first Total Health Technology Focus – filmed in HD. Special thanks to producer/director Keith Montgomery, The Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Program, and Vital Connect the first technology featured in the series.
We slightly miscalculated the amount of time it would take to run through the scenarios, so my recollection is of Keith coming into the room advising us to stretch out the time … fortunately I think there were plenty of inquisitive minds in the room and online.
See what you think. The next Tech Focus will likely be Google Glass, happening in July, 2013. Watch for it!
I am posting this because of what it says about the era of inclusion by the medical profession. It’s arrived.
I learned about this article while at this weekend’s first ever Kaiser Permanente Symposium for LGBT Health (post coming on that next), and now that I read it, I can understand what an impact it has had.
Impact, not because of what the article says, because of what is not said.
Inclusion. The whole thing is remarkable, isn’t it.
The real clinical problem is bias, not biology
One thing that made me chuckle a little is this introduction to the piece, that I think goes on the top of all articles of this kind in the Journal:
This Journal feature begins with a case vignette highlighting a common clinical problem.
Actually, the issue of gender dysphoria is not a common clinical problem at all. The clinical problem is one created by the health care system, not by biology – it’s the bias and inability to deliver sensitive, accurate care to trans people. That clinical problem results in unnecessary harm and death.
If you read carefully about treatments that should not be administered to trans people, such as Ethinyl Estradiol (causes clots, death from cardiovascular disease in doses needed to be effective), know that trans people without coverage or access to competent, judgement-free medical care may end up obtaining this form of estrogen without a prescription.
This nature of the clinical problem is not discussed in the piece, so I’ll help by pointing it out here :). That clinical problem is 100% curable. This paper helps with that treatment.
The irony / sadness is that while safer, medically supervised therapies are often not covered by health insurance, the treatment of complications and harm from unsafe, non-medically supervised therapies, are usually covered by that same insurance. Our generation is going to change that situation, though.
In a groundbreaking directive to health plans, the DMHC confirmed that California’s Insurance Non-Discrimination Act of 2006, authored by former Assemblymember Paul Koretz, guarantees all people the right to access coverage for medically necessary care regardless of their gender identity or gender expression.
The Association of American Medical Colleges announces a call for submissions for competency-based educational and assessment resources, as well as effective (or best) practices, policies and guidelines, that address the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) individuals, gender nonconforming and/or discordant children and adolescents, and those affected by disorders of sex development (DSD).
The are some resources/educational programs on the portal already. On the positive, it’s nice to be able to have a look into what medical schools might be teaching students in this field. Also on the positive, there are some resources already on the portal, and some of them are inclusive of trans and gender identity issues. On the not-as-positive side, there isn’t that much for this population, some of it is focused on LGB only. That’s why the call for submissions is timely and filling an important need. Here’s a video of the presentation made about the call for submissions.
I’m not a medical school educator, or a trans person, however I think both should be involved in improving the knowledge of our doctors-to-be about listening, and being there for all of the patients/communities/societies they will serve in their lifetime.
I’m thinking back to the LGBT curriculum I experienced in medical school – it was mixed. The actual teaching about taking sexual histories was modern for its time. The actual real-life discussion of sexual minorities was a disaster (which I later fixed when I was a lecturer at University of Washington – if you don’t like the news, go out and make your own). There was no discussion whatsoever about transgender health issues or DSD-affected people. The thing is that these experiences, good or bad, can affect a physician for their entire career, not to mention the reinforcement that may unintentionally happen on hospital wards / in the medical offices where they rotate (see a description of my wards experience in this writeup).
There’s more background on this AAMC (@AAMCtoday) initiative below. The intent is to make sure it gets better, and gets better inclusively for trans and DSD-affected people. Even if you are not a curriculum developer, search around and feel free to add comments to any of the 3-4 pieces that are currently up there, it will help medical school faculty help save lives.
I’m glad I found this work by the AAMC. There are more and more examples of health professionals understanding the huge gap in transgender health and why it is time for a change. I’m not imagining things, and I sense that I am just scratching the surface. That’s good, there’s a lot of depth to cover :).