Eskenazi Health announced today the expansion of its LGBT health care services with the new Eskenazi Health Transgender Health & Wellness Program. Eskenazi Health is one of only four health care systems in Indiana recently recognized as a leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.
"As a health system that continually works to stay at the forefront of progress and promote health in all its dimensions, we are excited to expand our support for this group of underserved individuals," said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health. "Dr. Janine Fogel is a driving force behind this initiative and understands the demand for a program that is specific to the transgender community."
The Eskenazi Health Transgender Health & Wellness Program provides primary care services for adult transgender patients – both male and female. The staff includes a primary care physician, surgeon, licensed practical nurse (LPN), social worker and patient care coordinator.
"Everyone is entitled to quality health care and deserves to feel accepted," said Dr. Janine Fogel, medical director of the Eskenazi Health Transgender Health & Wellness Program. "This program allows transgender patients to receive the care they need in a welcoming setting that uniquely fits their needs."
The primary care physician provides primary care as well as hormone replacement therapy and referrals as needed to a range of specialties including, but not limited to, OB/GYN, plastic surgery, endocrinology, speech pathology, nutrition and psychiatry. Additionally, a dedicated social worker conducts the initial assessment of all patients in order to evaluate for gender dysphoria and other mental health issues. The patient care coordinator advocates for patients with respect to the workplace, housing, legal name and gender changes, insurance issues, and pre- and post-operative support. Both the social worker and patient navigator also lead patient and family support groups.
Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher, a plastic surgeon, is also available to do pre- and post-operative evaluations, follow-ups and gender confirming procedures, playing an integral role in the comprehensive team.
"This is clearly an underserved population, and the team at Eskenazi Health is really taking a holistic approach to the new transgender program in order to treat the entire patient—mind and body," said Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher, surgical director of the Eskenazi Health Transgender Health & Wellness Program.
Research by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association shows that LGBT patients often experience barriers to appropriate health care due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGBT individuals are almost three times more likely than the rest of the population to experience mental health conditions such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. Their risk for suicide is also higher.
According to Hawthorn Mineart, managing editor of the Indiana Transgender Network, the Eskenazi Health Transgender Health & Wellness Program fills a void in Indiana, which until now has not had a program dedicated to transgender health care.
This is the second time that the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health have earned top honors on the LGBT Healthcare Equality Index, which evaluates institutions for inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees. Eskenazi Health is an annual participant in the Circle City IN Pride parade and festival and other events celebrating diversity and inclusion.
To learn more, please call 317.880.6042.
CONTACT: Todd Harper