Becoming a Transgender Knowledgeable Provider

By: Taylor Andres

UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, in conjunction with Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, recently hosted the “Becoming a Trans Knowledgeable Provider” conference to educate mental health, medical and community providers on caring for transgender patients.

The National LGBT Health Education Center, a program of the Fenway Institute, discovered tremendous health disparity and inequality while conducting research into transgender discrimination.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey identified the following:

50% of the people surveyed reported teaching their medical providers about transgender care;

19% of patients were refused care due to their transgender or gender non-conforming status;

28% of patients postponed necessary medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination by health care providers;

33% of patients delayed or did not try to get preventive health care due to discrimination by health care providers.

“The perspectives and needs of LGBTQ individuals should be routinely considered in public health efforts to eliminate disparities and improve the overall health of every person,” said Carol VanZile, director of behavioral health regulatory, compliance and accreditation at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

The conference consisted of keynote speeches that provided insight into the past and current climate of health care and social pressures on transgender individuals. The afternoon included breakout sessions in which providers discussed a variety of topics, including family-child relationships, coordination of care among providers, the medical transition process and its impact on mood, and the impact of societal discrimination on mental health. The day ended with a panel of experts answering questions about LGBTQ care.

For further information on the LGBTQ resources and services provided at UPMC, visit patient and visitor resources or email