By Tara Noorani
This past week, the Dean’s Executive Student Council (DESC) and SpeakOUT, a new LGBT student advocacy group, hosted the first transgender health training at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (NHWSN). The presentation was entitled “Providing Affirming Healthcare to Transgender and Gender Diverse Patients” and while it was hosted at NHWSN, this event wouldn’t have been possible without the collective teamwork of Emory School of Medicine and Allied Health Professions, Laney Graduate School and the Office of LGBT Life. Additionally, we were privileged to welcome co-founders Linda Herzer and Gabrielle Claiborne from Atlanta-based diversity training firm, Transformation Journeys Worldwide and family nurse practitioner, Michelle Sariev to share their expertise about the health needs of gender minorities.
Michelle’s experience in providing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a FNP at Ponce Primary Care displays a key takeaway – transgender health is not a specialty issue, but rather something to be integrated into basic primary care. Regardless of your gender identity, this presentation had the ability to bring together healthcare providers, students, and faculty for a night of learning and growth. This is how we progress as nursing professionals and how we develop the sensitivity to communicate confidently and compassionately to our patients. Ultimately the task is on us to seek knowledge on unfamiliar topics, to lean into discomfort and to consistently evaluate our belief systems.
The DESC and SpeakOUT plan to host future events that highlight the healthcare needs of racial, gender, and sexual minorities. We look forward to partnering with other student organizations and appreciate feedback on what the NHWSN community would like to learn more about. The decision to become a nurse demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning, but must also include a keen awareness that health outcomes do not manifest equally across communities. We must strive for a more equitable healthcare model that recognizes health disparities between populations and aims to dismantle the systems that drive them.
The DESC is composed of student leaders Tara Noorani, Dylan Avery, Alex Interiano, Sasha Cohen and Katina Thompson. Special thanks to Trisha Cabantac for capturing great photos during the event