University Health Service announced a new service called the Trans Care Team, which will provide hormone therapy for gender affirmation, prescriptions to prevent HIV, and other services and resources for the University of Michigan transgender community. The team is a group of trained health care providers that provide advice and general care in addition to hormone therapy.
UHS Care Manager Diana Parrish said the new Trans Care Team is comprised of health care providers who possess the knowledge and experience in caring for transgender and non-binary students. Prior to this specialized care team, insurance coverage and limited transportation inhibited many students from receiving local health care services.
“One clear solution was to have UHS offer these services,” Parrish wrote in an email. “We’ve been working hard to design processes, train staff and make changes to the UHS environment (like gender-inclusive forms and bathrooms) in collaboration with CAPS, Spectrum Center and of course trans and non-binary students themselves.”
Parrish said access to reliable health care can improve mental health and quality of life for transgender and non-binary students.
“These new UHS services are a very welcome addition to the network of support U-M is able to offer our trans and non-binary students,” Parrish wrote. “Since we began advertising UHS Trans Care Services during Welcome Week, I have heard from many trans and non-binary students who are interested in learning more and scheduling appointments.”
UHS physician Rachelle Wilcox described how the Trans Care Team will combat health disparities impacting members of the trans and non-binary community experience due to marginalization, oppression and violence.
“We hope that offering accessible, affirming health care to our trans and non-binary students will help complement the other services available to them through our campus partners and contribute to a culture of support and inclusion on campus,” Wilcox said.
TransForm Tech Chair Jay Hash, an Engineering junior, said the new UHS services make transitioning more accessible for students. TransForm, an advocacy and support group for trans and non-gender conforming people, helps connect transgender students with resources.
“For the people who want to pursue a medical transition, (the Trans Care Team) makes it much easier for them,” Hash said. “Making formal therapy accessible to trans people on campus is important because there are people coming from all over the world and all over the country so they might not have access to that … For people who think that hormone therapy is not an option at home, they can come to the University and get it here.”
Hash said he will be transferring his medical care to UHS because it is more accessible.
An anonymous LSA sophomore, a transgender student, was first directed to the Trans Care Team when he received a testosterone prescription but did not know how to inject it. He said the health care providers were helpful and provided advice and resources.
“I think that (the Trans Care Team) helps,” LSA sophomore said. “From talking to other people, I know it’s a good resource. I know another guy who is doing it, and my friend sees one of the doctors and they are all really nice, understanding and accepting, and it’s important because if we are paying so much to go here we should at least have doctors that know what they are doing.”