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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Feb;24(2):114-8. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.4918. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Care of the transgender patient: a survey of gynecologists' current knowledge and practice.

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Center for Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Women's Health Institute, Cleveland Clinic , Cleveland, Ohio.



Medical school and residency curricula are lacking in content on the care of the transgender patient. As a result, many providers do not have enough experience and knowledge to adequately care for this patient population. The aim of this study was to assess gynecologists' preferences and knowledge base with regard to transgender healthcare.


This was a cross-sectional survey of obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) providers. An anonymous survey was sent via electronic mail to nine academic OBGYN departments across the United States. Survey questions were designed to assess provider experience and practice environment, education about transgender health practices, personal experience with transgender patients, and knowledge base regarding current recommendations for the care of gender minority patients.


Of the 352 providers who received the survey, 141 responded, for a 40.1% response rate. Of the respondents, 61.7% (87 of 141) were generalist OBGYNs, and 86% (117 of 136) practiced in an academic institution; 80% (113 of 141) did not receive training in residency on the care of transgender patients. Time in practice was not associated with having learned about transgender care. Only 35.3% and 29% were comfortable caring for male-to-female and female-to-male transsexual patients, respectively; and, 88.7% and 80.4% were willing to perform screening Pap smears on female-to-male transsexual patients and routine breast examinations on male-to-female patients, respectively. Eighty-two of 138 providers (59.4%) did not know the recommendations for breast cancer screening in male-to-female patients.


Efforts should be made to educate trainees on the important aspects of transgender care, and comprehensive guidelines should be published for practicing providers.

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