University Health Services (UHS) uses what is known as an informed consent model for care related to gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT). Informed consent is an evidence-based model of providing care that is used in healthcare agencies serving and run primarily by LGBTQ+ and TGD communities.
UHS began offering GAHT for students in 2013, with the requirement that students first meet with a mental health provider to complete an assessment to receive a letter in support of this care. The requirement to meet with a mental health provider increases stigma for a community that has disproportionate healthcare disparities, and this requirement sends the message that TGD people do not understand themselves, their needs, or their own experiences. Informed consent removes the requirement of meeting with a mental health provider prior to being able to access medical care, thereby making the process of beginning GAHT consistent with the process for starting other medications.
UHS providers understand that oppression and marginalization have significant links to healthcare disparities, and in making this change, UHS moves toward eliminating disparities in the delivery of our care.
UHS’s collaboration with Gender and Sexuality Campus Center is an example of how services can change and adapt to better meet the needs of individuals who are members of historically underrepresented communities. By listening to these communities, following their lead, honoring strategies used within these communities, collaborating, working to understand the impact of oppression on healthcare disparities, and actively working to eliminate bias in our delivery of healthcare, we hope to create healthcare homes for students who may not have previously felt welcomed or cared for.
Transition can be stressful and having support will be important. Mental Health Services offers individual counseling, meetings to support students considering gender affirming surgeries, and weekly support and empowerment groups. Providers who have advanced training and experience working with TGD students are available.
Please see our Trans Health page to learn more.