At Trans Care BC, we often hear that people aren't aware of the breadth and depth of our work to enhance and coordinate trans health services and supports across the province. From
online trainings and
peer projects and
this year's program update (PDF) outlines the many ways we've been working to bring gender-affirming care closer to home for British Columbians.
Our team is incredibly proud of the progress within 2019-2020 fiscal year, and wanted to share just a couple highlights below.
None of this progress would be possible without the collective efforts of community members of all genders, care providers, partner programs, and allies – and we know there's still much work ahead.Read the full Trans Care BC program update (PDF).
Expanding education and resources for gender-affirming care
Trans Care BC is committed to increasing access to gender-affirming care across B.C. by raising care provider knowledge, competency and cultural safety.
In 2019-2020, Trans Care BC developed and launched more than a dozen support tools and resources, for care providers, as well as clients, families and community members. Our popular
Primary Care Toolkit (PDF) was downloaded 1,400 times, and we continually update it with the latest evidence-based guidelines and tools.
Since launching in 2019, more than 3000 people have completed Trans Care BC's
gender diversity online training modules.
Education project manager Gwen Haworth said she's grateful for the team's ability to build such far-reaching education tools collaboratively with community.
"For me it's been extremely gratifying," she explained. "I've gone from trying to access fragmented care during my transition 20 years ago to participating in a team that integrates so well with our other teams that we're able to offer wraparound support and a holistic approach to health."
The Trans Care BC care coordination team works with service providers and community contacts to help people find care as close to home as possible.
In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the team had 3584 interactions with community members, family members, loved ones and service providers, up 15 per cent from the previous year.
Lucas Wilson, care team coordinator, said the work involves both providing information and resources to support a client's care goals and also helping them understand and feel better equipped to navigate systems of care.
"In our interactions with clients, we've often heard they don't know where to start because the system can be quite daunting and complicated," Lucas explained. "Our team has seen an increase in contacts over the years and we're thankful that more and more folks know that they can come to Trans Care BC for support."
While working with community members to navigate care, Trans Care BC is also collaborating to grow health system capacity. In October 2019, Trans Care BC helped launch the Gender Surgery Program BC at Vancouver General Hospital.
With more physicians taking on gender-affirming care closer to home, the increase in access to surgical readiness assessments, and so many more surgeons involved in the care, we surpassed our own expectations for volumes of surgeries expected in 2019-20.
With more physicians taking on gender-affirming care closer to home, the increase in access to surgical readiness assessments, and so many more surgeons involved in the care, surgery volumes increased significantly from prior years: 429 breast and chest surgeries were completed in 2019-20, a nearly ten-fold increase from 2015-16.
These are just a couple of the many examples of ways people at Trans Care BC are working hard to support all aspects of gender-affirming care. You can learn about our peer support program, Indigenous engagement, young people and family supports and
more in the program update (PDF).
COVID-19's toll is far-reaching, as are the delays in care; these continue to be at the forefront as our team and network of providers do all that we can by virtual health means and work on reopening surgical pathways.
We at Trans Care BC are keenly aware of the need to continue addressing ongoing challenges while we adjust to living through a global pandemic, to support all aspects of trans health care remaining accessible wherever possible.
What can you do?
Lean into learning practices of allyship and check out our most popular starting-point resources to educate yourself on gender diversity:
Exploring gender diversity – online, introductory training for people new to learning about gender diversity, with tailored versions for health authority employees, people in health and human services, and health care providers.
Making mistakes and correcting them – a handout to help us acknowledge, correct, and move on from mistakes
Gender inclusive language – a handout of terms to use when you don't know the terms people use in reference to themselves or loved ones
Questions? Always feel free to reach out to the Trans Care BC team at firstname.lastname@example.org.