A simple curriculum content change increased medical student comfort with transgender medicine

Joshua Safer, Elizabeth Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Objective: A barrier to safe therapy for transgender patients is lack of access to care. Because transgender medicine is rarely taught in medical curricula, few physicians are comfortable with the treatment of transgender conditions. Our objective was to demonstrate that a simple content change in a medical school curriculum would increase students' willingness to care for transgender patients.Methods: Curriculum content was added to the endocrinology unit of the Boston University second-year pathophysiology course regarding rigidity of gender identity, treatment regimens, and monitoring requirements. All medical students received an online, anonymous questionnaire 1 month prior to and 1 month after receiving the transgender teaching. The questionnaire asked about predicted comfort using hormones to treat transgender individuals. Shifts in the views of the second-year students were compared with views of students not exposed to the curriculum change.Results: Prior to the unit, 38% of students self-reported anticipated discomfort with caring for transgender patients. In addition, 5% of students reported that the treatment was not a part of conventional medicine. Students in the second-year class were no different than other students. Subsequent to the teaching unit, the second-year students reported a 67% drop in discomfort with providing transgender care (P<.001), and no second-year students reported the opinion that treatment was not a part of conventional medicine.Conclusion: A simple change in the content of the second-year medical school curriculum significantly increased students' self-reported willingness to care for transgender patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-637
Number of pages5
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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