Military Physicians Say They Need More Education on Transgender Health Care Interview with:
David A. Klein, MD, MPH

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
Bethesda, Maryland
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH), Fort Belvoir, Virginia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In June 2016, the ban was lifted on transgender personnel serving openly in the military. Research suggests approximately 200 active-duty service members may request a gender transition annually.

The purpose of this study is to determine military family physician readiness to care for such patients. The majority (74 percent) of physicians have not received any formal education on the treatment of patients with gender dysphoria. Almost half of surveyed physicians are willing to prescribe cross-hormone therapy; of these, 99 percent report the need for additional training and/or assistance to do so. 53 report an unwillingness to prescribe even with additional education and assistance. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Increased education in transgender care is necessary and significantly associated with willingness to provide cross-hormone therapy. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further study is warranted to assess provider attitudes regarding transgender care, as well as the experiences, stigma and outcomes of transgender patients within the military system. I also recommend evaluating the effectiveness of training programs to provide education regarding this population in a military setting. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Over the past several months, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences has increased education on gender and sexuality diversity. Each of the military service branches has also implemented either online and/or in-person training on the subject. Civilian medical institutions, which train the majority of military physicians, should assess their curriculum and ensure there is appropriate training on gender and sexuality diversity. No disclosures. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Schvey NA, Blubaugh I, Morettini A, Klein DA. Military Family Physicians’ Readiness for Treating Patients With Gender Dysphoria. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 13, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0136

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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