IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 10843: Listening to Transgender Patients and Their Providers in Non-Metropolitan Spaces: Needs, Gaps, and Patient-Provider Discrepancies (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) patients need better care; providers need TGNC focused medical trainings. TGNC health conferences can help, yet these events occur mostly in urban centers. Meanwhile, patients in non-metropolitan areas often face significant discrimination and notably poor access to TGNC care. This study explores the ongoing needs of TGNC patients and their providers following a one-day TGNC health conference in a small town in the American Midwest. Exploratory semi-structured interviews were used to gather in-depth information from TGNC conference attendees (N = 25). Theme analysis methods were used to identify areas of need for future trainings. Providers reported that they needed more exposure to TGNC patients, judgement-free opportunities to learn the basics about TGNC care, and ongoing trainings integrated into their medical school and ongoing education credits. Patients needed better access to care, more informed providers, and safer clinics. They cited lack of specialty care (e.g., mental health, surgery) as particularly problematic in a non-metropolitan setting. TGNC patients, and their providers in non-metropolitan areas, urgently need support. Patients lack specialized care and often possess greater knowledge than their health care teams; providers, in these areas, lack opportunities to work with patients and stay up to date on treatments.