Grantee Cardea: Expanding Access to Transgender Healthcare

Pride Foundation has been dedicated to the health and well-being of the LGBTQ community since our founding in 1985. It is an area that has always been at the forefront of our work—whether it be through HIV/AIDS service delivery and prevention, mental health services for LGBTQ people, or healthcare access for the transgender community.

When Cardea applied for funding in 2013 to support culturally proficient care for transgender patients, we knew it would fill a vital need for the LGBTQ community.

Too many transgender youth and adults are denied access to the care and support they need simply because of who they are. When accessing healthcare, lack of providers with training in transgender health, discrimination, and harassment are often commonplace experiences for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

  • 19 percent of respondents reported being refused medical care due to their transgender or gender non-conforming status, with even higher numbers among people of color in the survey;
  • 50 percent of survey participants reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care, and;
  • 28 percent postponed medical care when they were sick or injured due to discrimination.

A two-part webinar series by Cardea, entitled “Clinically Competent and Culturally Proficient Care for Transgender and Gender Variant Patients,” will help primary care providers and family planning providers give high quality, culturally-proficient care to their transgender and gender variant patients. The first webinar will be offered on Thursday, May 8th and will focus on preventative care, health education and promotion, reproductive health services, and medical management of gender transition. On Tuesday, May 20th the second webinar will help providers plan the many aspects of culturally competent care, including the medical visit, the appointment making process, and the billing process. Both webinars will be available as recordings on Cardea’s website for those who are unable to participate in the live webinar.

This is the first webinar of its kind that Cardea has offered, and the goal is to expand the ability of primary care providers to meet the healthcare needs of transgender people. Ginny Cassidy-Brinn, an ARNP and the Clinical Training Manager at Cardea, pointed to the importance of expanding their reach through a webinar series; “Providing this training online in a webinar format is ideal because it can reach providers all over our region, including providers in rural areas who might not have the time or money to travel.”

The response to the webinar series has been “remarkable” according to Ginny—with over 100 providers registered in the first week. To her, this demonstrates “…that there are many healthcare providers out there who are very supportive, who want to help and who are seeking training.” Currently, there are 580 providers registered for the series.

When asked why Cardea decided to offer a webinar on this particular topic, Ginny responded, “Many primary care providers are very sympathetic to the needs of transgender people, but they don’t feel competent or knowledgeable enough to provide care. I am a nurse practitioner, and I had a chance to work with Simon Ellis, one of our presenters…he explained the basics of healthcare for transgender people to me—including gender transition therapy in just a few minutes. I wanted other physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to have the same learning opportunity that I had.”

Expanding the ability of providers to meet the needs of transgender individuals with dignity and compassion is of the utmost importance. According to one respondent of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, “I have several health issues and have been refused care by one doctor who ‘suggested’ that I go someplace else because she could not treat me since she ‘did not know anything about transgender people.’”

In the future, Cardea will look to offer more focused trainings for different audiences. The enrollees for the webinar work in many different facets of healthcare—from educators, to policy administrators, to medical care providers. By offering more targeted trainings, they will be able to tailor the content to provide a deeper learning experience.

“We would not have been able to put on this series without the support of the Pride Foundation,” said Ginny of Cardea. “The grant we received got us started. Many people have volunteered their time. This includes the presenters: Simon Ellis, ARNP, CNM, Cedar River Clinics – Well Woman & LGBTQ Wellness Services, Dr. Linda Gromko who was one of the first physicians in the Northwest to provide healthcare to transgender people, and Dr. Madeline Deutsch, from UC San Francisco, a world renowned expert on the subject.”

We are proud to support grantee Cardea as they strive to create a more inclusive and supportive healthcare system. Pride Foundation will continue investing in leaders, students and organizations to reduce the barriers faced by transgender people when accessing healthcare.

Zachary Pullin is Pride Foundation’s communications manager. Email Zachary. 

Cardea’s mission is to help health and human service providers give better care for underserved populations. Learn more about Cardea here.

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