Research outlined in this article shows both the need for and potential value of providing training to health care professionals who treat transgender patients in correctional settings. The outcome of this study is based primarily on the analysis of surveys administered to 34 healthcare providers who work in correctional facilities. These surveys measured both the technical knowledge of these healthcare providers as well as ratings of their own abilities and knowledge before and after undergoing training.
Three months after this training, 67.9% of providers had cared for a transgender patient, and all 19 of these providers reported that they applied what they had learned during the training to their patient’s care. Furthermore, 97.1% of providers reported that they had increased their knowledge around caring for transgender patients because of the training, and 100% of providers reported that they would recommend the training not only to other health care providers in correctional facilities but also to any correctional employee who interacts regularly with detainees.
Comprehensive, holistic approaches to training healthcare providers on treating transgender patients are they key to ensuring that transgender patients, especially those detained in a correctional facility, are treated with respect. If a healthcare provider gains technical knowledge but still holds on to personal prejudices, transgender inmates will continue to receive inadequate and potentially harmful care.
Trainings such as the one outlined in this study are a first step to ensuring this right and can be implemented across correctional facilities. Correctional staff’s literacy in the full spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity also is an essential predicate to eliminating the stigma and related violence against transgender and queer inmates