A new University Health Services health model shift allows trans students to go against the stigma of being trans labeled as a mental health condition, which staff said is the best inclusive and affirmative practice of trans health care.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
UHS ‘breaks down barriers’ for trans students seeking medical care
In addition to worrying about roommate assignments, meal plans
In the past, students have chosen UW-Madison in part because of the services offered at University Health Services that aren’t commonly offered on other college campuses — however, barriers have persisted to medical care access within UHS.
Now, staff members from UHS and the LGBT Campus Center are shifting toward a model that will help create an affirming, inclusive space for students, according to LGBTCC Assistant Director Katherine Charek Briggs.
Come May, UHS will move to informed consent as a model of health care, a shift Charek Briggs said gives patients agency in their own medical care.
Informed consent allows patients to make decisions about their own health care after being fully informed of benefits and consequences by their medical provider. Since 2012, UHS has required trans students to go through a Gender Identity Consultation with a trained therapist or counselor prior to receiving medical care. Patients must then obtain a written letter from that counselor, permitting them to receive the treatment they seek.
The informed consent model enables patients to forgo mental health counseling and consult directly with a doctor who can prescribe them hormones, which can also be administered at UHS — one of the services not commonly available on other college campuses.
UHS is the first Big Ten university health center to switch to informed consent practice. They are also the first of the UW System schools to do so, according to Charek Briggs.