Congratulations to Marina Rountree-James, a third year medical student at the University of Manitoba, who is working on trans health needs in Winnipeg. Marina is the latest winner of our Les McAfee Award. Before she entered medical school, she worked as a health educator on topics that included body image, sexual and reproductive health, diversity and healthy relationships through community health clinics. She holds a MA in Political Studies (University of Manitoba, 2005) and a BA with double major in Conflict Resolution Studies and Kinesiology (University of Winnipeg, 2000).
Here is Marina’s description of her research:
Assessing Trans People’s Experiences of Health Care in Winnipeg: This qualitative study was undertaken as the thesis for a BSc Med degree (which will be awarded at the same time as the MD degree in 2017) and addresses gaps in knowledge with respect to physicians’ understanding of transgender health care, and trans people’s health care experiences in the Winnipeg context.
30 trans people participated in semi-structured in-depth interviews and 11 physicians participated in three small focus groups. Main gaps identified were a lack of free trans-sensitive mental health care; physicians unwilling to diagnose gender dysphoria and prescribe hormones; a way to record a patient’s chosen name and gender pronoun on the EMR (electronic medical record); and public funding for procedures necessary for transition, such as facial electrolysis and facial feminization surgeries.
Recommendations to improve health care for trans people included: further gender education for medical students, residents and attending physicians; gender-sensitivity training for all clinical staff; routine screening for depression, anxiety and suicide ideation for trans patients; that further longitudinal research be undertaken on impacts of hormone therapy and removal of natal gonads to a patient’s health; that departments assign numbers to patients rather than call names in waiting rooms; that treatments necessary for transition are financially covered; and that EMR systems are updated with a field for preferred name and gender marker.