Transgender individuals have a gender identity that is different
from their sex assigned at birth. Many people who are transgender are
prescribed hormones or undergo other medical treatments to reduce the
distress that can subsequently occur. They often seek treatment from
endocrinologists - physicians and scientists who specialize in treating
and researching hormone conditions.
Four out of five physicians who specialize in treating hormone health
conditions have never received formal training on care for transgender
individuals, revealed a new study published in the Endocrine
Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
‘Four out of five physicians who specialize in treating hormone health conditions have never received formal training on care for transgender individuals.’
"As awareness and insurance coverage of transgender healthcare has
increased, there is growing demand for healthcare providers with
expertise in this area," said the study's first author, Caroline
Davidge-Pitts of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. "It is crucial
for endocrinologists to receive the necessary training to feel confident
providing the highest quality care for this population."
The Mayo Clinic and the Endocrine Society conducted an online survey
of practicing U.S. endocrinologists and directors of training programs
that prepare fellows, residents and medical students for endocrinology
careers to gauge their understanding of transgender healthcare.
Of 411 practicing physicians who responded, nearly 80 percent had
treated a transgender individual during their career. The survey found
that most healthcare providers were comfortable taking a history or
prescribing hormones to transgender individuals.
Respondents felt less
confident discussing surgery and other non-hormonal treatment options,
which may require a referral to a surgeon or other healthcare provider.
The survey respondents were interested in receiving additional training
in transgender care from online training modules and medical meeting
Of the 54 endocrinology fellowship program directors who responded
to the survey, 35 said their programs provided dedicated teaching on
transgender health topics. The respondents said the biggest hurdles to
providing more education were lack of faculty interest or experience,
training resources and funding.
"The survey results will help us develop strategies to educate
endocrinologists who are currently in practice as well as those entering
the field about transgender care," Davidge-Pitts said. "Teaching
transgender health topics earlier, in medical school or residency, is
one way to ensure young professionals are prepared. Expanded continuing
education through online modules or medical meetings can benefit current