BOSTON, October 5, 2021—More than 500 people from around the world attended the seventh annual Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health Conference hosted by The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. Clinicians and health care workers from 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Iraq, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Tunisia heard from experts skilled in the provision of culturally responsive and confident gender-affirming health care that is grounded in research, evidence, and best clinical practices. Although the conference was held virtually due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, attendees were able to converse with conference speakers and each other through virtual networking events and one-on-one private messaging.
“Demand for state-of-the-art health care services for transgender and gender diverse people is rapidly increasing and it’s just not possible to provide high quality care without making the latest research and best practice in gender affirming health care as accessible as possible to clinicians and other health care workers,” said Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, who directs the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program and was one of the conference’s three co-directors. “Our conference has fast become an event where clinicians can learn about new knowledge in the field as well as ways to implement these learnings in their practice.”
Dr. Rachel L. Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, delivered the conference’s keynote speech. Focusing on the importance of ensuring access to quality health care for all communities, including transgender and gender diverse people, Dr. Levine, who holds the highest rank ever achieved by an openly transgender person in the field of health care as well as in the federal government, pledged that she would “advocate publicly in support of health equity, fairness, equality and inclusiveness for our community.”
This year’s conference included panels of racially diverse transgender and gender diverse adults and youth, including people of intersex experience and family members of transgender youth who shared their experiences in health care settings with conference attendees in highly interactive case discussions.
The conference also showcased poster presentations, including video presentations, of new research in facial feminization surgery, mental health and case management services for transgender young adults, body mass index as a barrier to gender-affirming surgery, and more.
Publication of the forthcoming textbook Transgender and Gender Diverse Health Care: The Fenway Guide, from McGraw Hill Professional was also announced at the conference. Authored by Fenway Health clinicians, researchers, staff members and other national experts, the Guide highlights best practices in care from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders and is the first case-based textbook to address the comprehensive health care needs of transgender and gender diverse adults.
The three-day conference was offered as a national course accredited by Harvard Medical School. It covered a range of topics, including unconscious and implicit bias, considerations for transgender and gender diverse providers caring for transgender and gender diverse patients, primary and preventative health needs, PrEP and HIV prevention, gender-affirming surgeries, puberty blockers and hormone therapy for youth, trauma-informed care, fitness and wellness for transgender and gender diverse people, transgender legal issues, providing mental health assessments for gender affirming surgery referral letters, collecting gender identity data, and engaging leadership and organizational change.
The eighth annual Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health Conference will take place October 13-16, 2022.