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TRANSforming Healthcare: Transgender Cultural Competency for Medical Providers

Distributed by Frameline, 145 Ninth St., Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94103; 415-703-8650
Produced by Ethan Suniewick, Ann McNair, and Derek Brockett
Directed by Ethan Suniewick
DVD , color, 17 min.
College - Adult
Health Sciences, Gender Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies

Reviewed by Lori Widzinski, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Date Entered: 6/10/2010

The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of educational and training videos for healthcare personnel in the area of cultural competence. It is now an essential part of health sciences education in all areas—medicine, dentistry, nursing, and the allied health professions. TRANSforming Healthcare fills a much needed void in this burgeoning video arena focusing on the specific issues of the transgendered community.

Several transgendered people provide stories of uncomfortable, humiliating, and downright rude encounters with healthcare providers in the film. They also create the reverse of their experiences by suggesting ways their visits to the medical office would have been more successful for everyone involved. The bottom line is to be treated no differently than any other patient—with respect and care, which in turn helps create a trustworthy relationship between patient and medical practitioner. The way that bottom line is met, however, requires knowledge, openness and humanity.

Additionally, a physician and a registered nurse provide their input on treating the transgendered. Detailed examples emerge on creating a transgendered friendly practice environment—ideas range from the simple, such as creating unisex bathrooms and making sure the entire staff of an office or clinic is included in cultural competency training, to the more complicated (and likely more difficult to achieve) issues of communication and being open-minded. Instead of a medical interview that is awkward and disjointed resulting in a negative experience for both practitioner and patient, communication strategies are examined for a more open and relaxed experience. It is important for healthcare providers to ask their transgendered patients how they will feel comfortable talking about their bodies or their sex lives, and to reinforce professional privacy regulations.

TRANSforming Healthcare boasts a brief 17 minute running time (perfect for training sessions), and delivers by at least touching on the big issues, shining a light on several smaller details and serving as a wonderful vehicle for generating discussion in the classroom. It is appropriate for college and university library collections that support health sciences education and clinical training programs, and gender studies departments as well. Recommended