Trans health module builds students’ cultural competence



New Trans Health Module trains students in cultural competence

In health care, discrimination against trans people occurs in both blatant and subtle ways. A seemingly simple question can negate one’s identity. Patients must complete forms that only include binary gender categories. Providers make assumptions about one’s sexuality. Insurance coverage for gender-affirming health care proves inadequate–or nonexistent. 

Recognizing that effective patient advocacy requires a deep understanding of these issues, Hanna Barton, PhD candidate in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a student in the CPP course, From Patient to Policy: Models of Systems Advocacy, developed a learning module on trans health and cultural humility. 

“Trans people face unique experiences just trying to live as their authentic selves,” says Jill Jacklitz, CPP Co-Director. “We’re addressing the need for our students to understand and, more importantly, practice deep cultural humility through their advocacy. This module also gathers  some of the essential resources our student advocates need to effectively advocate with transgender clients as they navigate the healthcare system.”

The module includes materials and case studies that cover fundamental concepts such as distinguishing between gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and gender expression, along with becoming familiar with a range of experiences that trans people face. The module familiarizes students with the experience of intersectionality, or the ways cultural, racial, spiritual, or perceived identities may combine to influence, amplify, or make one’s experiences of bias unique to them.