To the Editor: Admonishing health care providers for not giving equitable care to transgender people is a tempting but least-acceptable option if educators and policy makers in the health care professions are not held equally responsible. If health care providers are not appropriately educated, it is from those who so poorly equipped them that we should seek answers.1 The shortcomings of current health education2 and the urgent need to take remedial actions to address the sensitive and complex issues pertaining to the real-life health care scenarios of transgender people have been well acknowledged.2,3
As a robust solution to the health disparities experienced by transgender people, we suggest a two-step targeted approach where interdisciplinary short-term courses (e.g., four courses over a period of four weeks) on the special needs of this marginalized population are delivered to educators and policy makers by appropriate experts in a problem-based learning format. Following that, complementary short (e.g., a three-hour slot) and more specialized courses could be taught. These would focus extensively on the social determinants of the health problems of the marginalized clients. This targeted approach could not only provide more in-depth understanding of the special needs of transgender people but could also trigger movements to influence national and cultural priorities in favor of this group’s right to an equitable health system.
PhD candidate, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pascale Allotey, PhD
Professor of public health and director, Global Public Health, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.
Daniel D. Reidpath, PhD
Professor of population health and director, South East Asian Community Observatory Project, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.
1. Bhutta ZA, Chen L, Cohen J, et al. Education of health professionals for the 21st century: A global independent commission. Lancet. 2010;375:1137–1138
2. Frenk J, Chen L, Bhutta ZA, et al. Health professionals for a new century: Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. Lancet. 2010;376:1923–1958
3. Allotey PA, Diniz S, Dejong J, Delvaux T, Gruskin S, Fonn S. Sexual and reproductive health and rights in public health education. Reprod Health Matters. 2011;19:56–68