NSU’s MD program to host a transgender health care panel

On April 17 from 2 – 4:10 p.m. in the Terry Building’s Morris Auditorium, the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine will host a panel on transgender issues through the eyes of health care providers and patients to educate students in the field of transgender health care. This event is open to students in the health professions division and will provide exposure to  students through key experts on this topic. This event hopes to eliminate the stigmas and bias surrounding transgender people and the issues that they face by talking about these issues in an open forum.

“The idea of providing health care to transgender people both primary health care and transgender-related health care, such as transition surgeries is a growing field that is becoming more and more common as being transgender is becoming more accepted [in society] and  people are more comfortable coming out and moving forward with these [medical services]. It’s important because, as clinicians, we have a duty to be the best advocate for our patients and transgender people have a set of medical considerations that are completely different than anyone else. As much as you can read about it in a textbook or seek it out, it’s not the same as having actual exposure to those people,” said Jacob Oster, M.D candidate in NSU’s M.D program and organizer of this event.

There will be five experts featured at this event including a psychologist, a speech and language pathologist and case worker. The panel will be split into two one-hour sessions: the first from 2-3 p.m. and the last from 3:10 to 4:10 p.m. The panel will include a pre-recorded video interview with a gender reassignment surgeon and the panelists who will introduce themselves, their work in this field as a patient or health care provider and misconceptions as well as a general discussion on transgender issues in regards to health care. For the second half of each session, the floor will be open for questions.

“There is a certain way the media portrays transgender people depending on what you watch. There is a very limited media exposure and when there is it tends to fall into certain stereotypes at least in the mainstream media. In terms of individual bias of people that are different than them, that kind of bias has been around forever and I think that this kind of exposure is important,” said Oster.

According to Oster, this event is a part of the diversity and formation of the curriculum for NSU’s charter M.D. class. Ideally, Oster hopes that this panel would be presented annually to focus on transgender issues, which he believes is a conversation that deserves a permanent setting in the health care community at NSU.

“A lot of people might be nervous to ask questions themselves [about transgender issues] because this topic is often viewed as unapproachable.  If people were aware, especially in the health care setting, that your patients— including transgender patients— want you to be knowledgeable on the topic and understand, then it will be easier to approach people.  Transgender patients want to be recognized and for people to understand that it’s not offensive to ask questions about something that you are genuinely curious about, most of the time,” said Oster.

Students interested in learning more about this event or would like to have a question answered at the panel but do not feel comfortable doing so in person are invited to email Oster at jo830@mynsu.nova.edu.

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