Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Doug Brock


Purpose: Among those underserved by current healthcare policy and practice are those within a gender minority, transgender and gender non-conforming populations. Within this investigative paper, disparities are identified as well as what the trends are for possible solutions in overcoming these shortcomings with the end goal of comprehensive and competent care for all.

Methods: Two investigative approaches were taken to address this issue. First, peer-reviewed publications detailing recent research on differences between preventive health screening (i.e. cancer screening) in transgender and cisgender populations, as well as other documented discrepancies between the healthcare of transgender patients as opposed to overall population were reviewed. Second, a series of interviews with seven healthcare providers, six of whom work largely with transgender patients, were conducted. Questions aimed to discern their level of preparedness for caring for transgender and gender non-conforming patients, as well as their opinion on the steps indicated to eradicate remaining barres to access for these patients. The interviews were conducted in person, recorded, and are summarized in the results section.

Discussion: Strategies for overcoming obstacles in reaching higher quality care and access to care include the education of healthcare providers, the dissemination of guidelines on preventive health screening, and adherence to the language and respect that is warranted in a patient-provider dynamic. Another topic of interest is the expansion of insurance coverage via disestablishment of the binary structures currently in place which can act as a barrier in seeking these life-saving therapies.

Conclusion: Barriers to care have a negative impact on the quality of the health of this already marginalized patient population. While identifying ways in which the medical community can meet the needs of these patients via incorporating training in medical education curriculums, it is also apparent that clinic guidelines need to include the hormone transitional therapy required by many transgender patients in pursuit of health.