The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Clinic for Transgender Health opens in Bellevue


The Vanderbilt Clinic for Transgender Health opened its doors Friday, becoming the first clinic in the southeast region to offer a variety of services–including the eventual coordination of gender confirmation surgery–to solely transgender patients. Physicians from a variety of disciplines–such as primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, endocrinology, laryngology, and psychology–have partnered with the clinic to offer all of the types of care a transgender patient may need.

The clinic is open on Fridays, when the clinical team will offer intake appointments to coordinate care for transgender patients, who can then receive referrals to other health professionals. Staff are working out details of offering transition-related surgery consultations through the clinic, said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, the director of the Program for LGBTQI Health at the Medical Center, which has a strong partnership with the clinic.

It is significant that these services are consolidated in a uniquely transgender space because transgender patients often have uncomfortable experiences navigating doctors appointments themselves, Ehrenfeld said. For example, transgender men often find it difficult or awkward to have to go to an OB GYN’s office to receive a PAP smear test, he said.

“Something I cannot emphasize enough is having a dedicated space is so important to letting patients know that they can receive affirming, high quality care and won’t be discriminated against,” Ehrenfeld said.

VUMC clinicians began meeting two years ago to discuss how to better organize and coordinate care for transgender patients. Ehrenfeld noted that the multidisciplinary model of care the clinic represents is consistent with Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which state that the best approach for providing healthcare to transgender patients is to through a multidisciplinary team.

The clinic is intended to serve all 34,000 transgender individuals in the state of Tennessee and others in the Southeast who previously had to travel to cities such as Chicago, New York or San Francisco to receive holistic and interdisciplinary care, Ehrenfeld said. Vanderbilt students will have access to the clinic as well, as it has a close partnership with the Student Health Center.

The Bellevue location is about a 20-minute drive or a 30-minute bus ride from campus, and the clinic accepts the Vanderbilt student health insurance as well as other major insurance providers.

“A clinic geared specifically towards trans healthcare would provide a more personalized experience for our trans students, many of whom have faced either discomfort or outright discrimination from healthcare providers in the past,” said Kelsea Verboncoeur, the president of Lambda, Vanderbilt’s gender and sexuality alliance.

The core team at the clinic is motivated by the support they’ve received thus far, and look forward to further tailoring care towards the needs of their patients.

“The response and enthusiasm has been overwhelming, which we are excited to see,” Ehrenfeld said.

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Sarah Friedman, Former Editor in Chief

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