Transgender inclusion in medicine highlighted at NYC conference

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Denial of health care access has been a reality that transgender individuals have had to face for years. However the tide is beginning to turn. 

Providers Training Day is a one-day conference meant to train doctors and mental health professionals in providing up-to-date transgender medical care. Almost 200 medical professionals are expected to attend the conference taking place in Albany, New York on April 26. 

Sponsored by the University of Albany and Albany Medical College, Providers Training Day is in conjunction with The Empire Conference, an educational and networking conference geared toward the transgender community. The conference is meant to provide information on transgender health care with the idea of creating a cohesive plan for future transgender care. 

Sexologist Dr. Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Diamond has conducted extensive research on sexuality and gender identity. He is most famous for the John/Joan case where he disproved the theory that genitals determine a person’s gender. 

The conference will focus around ‘the medical track’ where medical providers and experts of the transgender medical field will demonstrate evidence and speak on their work. The goal here is to provide information for the best health care practices and guidelines regarding transgender health. 

Additionally, the conference will cover ‘the mental health track’ which will “focus on the assessment and treatment of gender non-conforming, transgender, and transsexual people within a systemic context focused on building competency among mental health providers and allied professionals” as stated on The Empire Conference website. 

The medical world is slowly stepping away from the school of thought which believed that transgender people suffered from mental illness, and are grasping a more progressive philosophy where transgender individuals are treated as equals. 

“I had to do a lot of self-study, sought help from my colleagues and trained my self because we didn’t get any training in transgender medicine in medical school,” said Yale University graduate and family physician, Dr. Carolyn Wolf-Gould, reported Times Union. 

“The transgender community, in terms of politics, social acceptance and judgment from the mental health community, is where the gay community was in 1980,” said conference organizer and professor at the University of Albany, Arlene Lev.

The conference’s ultimate aim is to push medical care forward to be accommodating and inclusive to all people.

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