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Trans health a priority for Student Health Services


In a great step forward for transgender individuals within the Dal/King’s community, Dalhousie University’s Student Health Services will soon have CPATH-trained staff.

The Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) is an organization stating its aim as supporting the health, wellbeing, and dignity of trans and gender-diverse people.

CPATH is holding a conference in Halifax from Oct. 1-4, “Transforming the Landscape of Transgender Health and Wellness.”

The conference will focus on determinants of trans health, clinical practice and professional development, and creating systemic change.

Emily Huner, operations manager at Dal Student Health Services, says a nurse practitioner from the clinic will attend pre-conference training sessions.

The nurse’s training will take place over one day of pre-conference sessions and will address how to diagnose gender dysphoria, how to communicate the risks and benefits of both hormones and surgery for trans people, and how to apply the necessary components of documentation needed.

CPATH training will allow for the recommendation of hormone therapy as well as gender confirmation therapy. Seeing as there is currently only one place in Halifax to go for these, this is a win for transgender health in Halifax.

Huner says Student Health Services’ counsellors, the student health promotion manager, and the medical director will all attend the conference happening this fall, but not participate in the pre-conference sessions.

“This is the first time that counseling and psychological services staff have actually sent counsellors to this type of conference to start with, so this is actually a big step for them,” says Huner.

Student Health Services does not currently have staff with the training necessary to become assessors for trans individuals who wish to undergo hormonal therapy or surgery, but Nichole Helm, the nurse practitioner who will be participating in the CPATH training sessions, says the training is another step they are taking to increase their competency when working with trans individuals.

Jude Ashburn, outreach coordinator of South House, Halifax’s only full-time gender justice centre, says this is a critical and necessary service for trans students at Dal and King’s.

“This will be great. They don’t have to go off-campus. They don’t have to face the same level of wait time for their health needs,” says Ashburn.

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