Transgender Health Services
The University of Pittsburgh Student Health Service serves all students, including those who identify as gender-variant, gender queer, transgender, and/or transsexual. Our clinical staff works in conjunction with the individual student to address the health issues most important to the student.
We know transgender people are sometimes hesitant to access health care, so we work hard to create and maintain a space where students can ask questions, get answers, and feel supported when making decisions. We don’t use any official “standard of care.” Instead, we regard students as individuals and coordinate care with students individually and with the University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center or other local mental health care providers to help students navigate their specific medical and mental health needs, concerns, and risks. We’re not here to judge; we’re here to help.
The University of Pittsburgh Student Health Service provides primary care, as well as reproductive and sexual health care, tailored to fit an individual student’s specific needs. Thus, the health care provided takes into account biologic sex, any anatomic variations, particularly following surgery, and specific sexual practices. Transgender students interested in cross gender therapy are welcome to come and consult with us. We will work with the student to develop the best treatment plan for them in collaboration with their mental health care provider. We provide services related to cross gender therapy and provide ongoing care and follow-up after the initiation and initial adjustment of hormones.
We can also provide referrals for mental health and other transgender related services such as vocal training, electrolysis, surgery, etc.
Cross Gender Therapy
Hormone therapy (e.g. testosterone or estrogen/progestin), as well as spironolactone and other anti-androgen therapy, consultation, prescription, and maintenance can be provided by clinicians at the Student Health Service who are familiar with or have an expertise in transgender health concerns. The Student Health Service can provide these hormones and other therapies in several ways. Student Health Service clinicians can prescribe and monitor cross gender therapies ordered through the Student Health Service’s pharmacy or brought by students from their coordinating physician/pharmacy. Our nursing staff is skilled at teaching patients to self-administer intramuscular or subcutaneous hormonal therapies, if education is desired/needed.
Gynecological exams are an important part of your total health care. Professional staff at the Student Health Service will work to ensure a safe and comfortable environment.
Basic office visits/consultations with medical providers at the Student Health Service and with counselors at the Counseling Center are covered by the paid Student Health Fee. Laboratory fees and prescriptions (among other things) are not covered by this fee, but may be covered by a student’s health insurance.
We encourage open communication between patients and their providers, and recommend this related article by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association: Ten Things Transgender Persons Should Discuss with Their Health Care Providers
Another excellent resource is the University of San Francisco Center for Excellence For Transgender Care.
A local Pittsburgh mental health resource for transgender people is Persad Center.
For more information on transgender resources, health, and standards of care:
- WPATH Standards of Care
- Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline
- American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Transgender Health Resources
- Transgender Law Center
Organizing for Transgender Health Care:
A Guide for Community Clinic Organizing and Advocacy
- Transgender Health Information
- FTM support
- Resources for Transgender Employees (Human Rights Campaign)