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Transgender Cultural Competency Focus Of Training Effort For Some South Coast Medical Professionals

Gold Coast Health Care sponsored a workshop to raise awarness on how best to work with transgender, and gender uncertain individuals

Transgender acceptance by society been a major topic in America for the last few years. It’s come to the forefront through everything from Olympian Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner, to the debate over restroom use by the transgender community.

Hundreds of people from the medical community gathered in Ventura County for a training session on how they can be more sensitive in working with transgender patients.

How to interact with this sector of the population in a culturally appropriate way is still a learning process for many people. For instance, how do you know when someone who is transgender wants to be addressed as “he' or “she”?

Gold Coast Health Plan in one of the largest health care providers on the South Coast. The plan is a non-profit agency which works like an HMO to provide health care services for more than 200,000 Medi-Cal recipients in Ventura County. Its clients include more than a thousand people who are transgender, or living with gender identity questions, so it held a special training session on this issue for hundreds of medical personnel

Dr. Jake Donaldson is a Ventura County physician who led the special session. He’s had specialized training in the treatment of transgender, and other non-conforming individuals. Donaldson says one of the keys to good medical treatment is trust in your medical providers, something that needs to be earned through respecting the client.

Donaldson says the recent media spotlight on this issue through television shows like “Transparent,” Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner, as well as news events has helped raise awareness. about this issue.

The doctor answers one of the most common questions he gets at educational events like this: Do you use “he” or “she”? He says the answer is simple: You just ask, and then remember the answer for the next time that patient returns.

Donaldson says this is an ongoing educational issue, but that education starts with getting people to talk about these questions before they actually face them.