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Two-Day National Conference on Trans-Affirmative Medical Education, New Delhi, 5th and 6th of May 2022

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New Delhi, Delhi, India:
 Sangath in association with the University of Chicago, Bucksbaum Institute of Clinical Excellence, Kasturba Medical College (Manipal) shared the draft competencies prepared as a part of the TransCare Med-Ed project in a two-day national conference being organized in Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi on 5th and 6th of May 2022. Through a systematic, participatory, and inclusive effort, TransCare Med-Ed has developed a set of draft trans affirmative competencies on trans-affirmative healthcare in India. For this a series of consultative stakeholder workshops were conducted in Delhi, Manipal and Bhopal.The conference invited trans people, medical professionals, advocates and researchers from all across the country to discuss the rich diversity of lived experiences with respect to the medical system. The conference explored the narratives of marginalisation within the system, the possibilities of inclusion and how we can work towards structural change for making the health system an affirming space for transgender people.

After the development of the competencies in these workshops, the project reviewed them for which the conference plays an important role. The TransCare Med-Ed National conference on May 5th and 6th aimed at disseminating and discussing these competencies, highlighting best practices and building consensus on the way forward. The conference was organized in partnership with USAID, SAATHI, UNDP and PEPFAR.

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The draft competencies were released by the TransCare team comprising of Prof. Aniruddha Hazra, University of Chicago; Dr. Aqsa Sheikh, HIMSR; Dr. Khan Amir Maroof, UCMS; Dr. Satendra Singh, UCMS and other team members. The opening session had formal remarks from Sangeeta Patel, Health & Population Office (India), USAID, India; Mr. Dennis Curry, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP (TBC); Dr. M.D. Singh Tyagi, Joint Director – Research, NHSRC (TBC); Dr. B Srinivas, Assistant Director General (Medical Education), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Dr. Shobini Rajan, Deputy Director-General, NACO; and other members from NMC and Social Justice Ministry.

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The two-day conference hosted important conversations and discussions on issues like challenges in accessing healthcare for trans persons, medical spaces and trans inclusion, moving from challenges to solutions with a focus on the need for capacity building, intersectionality and social determinants of health among trans persons. The conference also highlighted lived experiences of the persons from the transgender and disability community. The conference ended with a panel discussion on way forward and a vote of thanks from the TransCare team.

“We are really happy to have successfully hosted this dissemination event. This is the output of months of hard work and efforts by the team at TransCare MedEd. Making a country’s healthcare system trans-affirmative is the central objective of our project and we are sure this will work towards improving access to healthcare for the trans community by shaping the medical professionals of tomorrow,” said Prof. Aniruddha Hazra, Chicago University.

“There is an immediate need to make our health system trans-affirmative. This work that we have done at TransCare MedEd will be instrumental in shaping the policy discourse around this issue. We thank persons from the transgender community who agreed to participate in the study and share their experiences,” said Dr. Aqsa Sheikh, HIMSR.

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“The health care system has a history of being an alienating space for transgender persons. TransCare MedEd is working towards making a structural difference in how medical students are educated and oriented towards marginalized communities. We hope this work goes beyond critique to systematically sensitise medical professionals towards the needs of transgender persons,” said Dr. Kirtana Raghurama Nayak, Kasturba Medical College.

About TransCare Med-Ed Project

Despite efforts for universal health access, trans and gender non-binary (TGNB) persons in India face unequal barriers in accessing healthcare. A major reason for this inequity is that the health professional education in India largely operates within the gender binary and has not worked to include Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) competencies. Moreover, the medical education pathologizes these identities within the curriculum.

In 2019, the Government of India passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which mandates governments to take measures to “review of medical curriculum and research for doctors to address their [transgender] specific health issues.” Due to inaction, recent legal interventions from the Honourable courts of the country like the Kerala HC and the Madras HC have pushed for these conversations to create active change. This has led the National Medical Commission to release a mandate for the omission of harmful content from the curriculum.

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This is where the work done in TransCare MedEd takes centre stage. TransCare MedEd addresses the lack of trans affirmative content that needs to be a part of the MBBS curriculum. Through a systematic, participatory, and inclusive effort, TransCare MedEd has developed a set of draft trans affirmative competencies on trans-affirmative healthcare in India.

After the consolidation and refinement of the competencies drafted through several consultative workshops, the project is culminating in a national conference on trans-affirmative medical education on the 5th and 6th of May, aimed at highlighting these best practices and discussing methods of teaching, consensus building and national dissemination of this work.

About Sangath

Sangath was registered in 1996 and began its journey as a modest child development clinic in Goa. Today, Sangath is widely known as one of India’s most reputed not-for-profits in the mental health space. Our path-breaking research and intervention programs in mental health, child development, adolescent health, addictions research and interventions have gained international recognition. Our singular desire is to bridge the treatment gap for mental health problems in India and other low- and middle-income countries. Sangath believes in empowering ordinary people, whom we often call lay counsellors, to deliver our psychosocial interventions in their communities. The success of the interventions we develop is centred on ensuring that they are affordable, easily accessible and acceptable to these communities.

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About iHEAR

iHEAR is a collaborative initiative hosted at Sangath that brings together academics, researchers, activists, practitioners and community representatives to conduct participatory research, advocacy and education at the intersection of marginalised identities, health access and mental health.

About University of Chicago Center in Delhi

The University of Chicago Center in Delhi provides a base for research, teaching and dialogue among scholars from the University, across India and around the world. It builds on a rich history of intellectual collaboration between Chicago and India.

The Center is designed to serve scholars at all levels, and across all disciplines. It serves as a convening space for Chicago faculty and students, a gathering place for alumni, and a nucleus for rekindling old relationships and forging of new ones. It also provides opportunities for interaction with the University’s main campus based in Hyde Park, Chicago; global campus located in Hong Kong; its centers in Beijing and Paris; Chicago Booth campus in London; and other programs and facilities around the world.

About KMC, Manipal

Kasturba Medical College, Manipal is well supported by Kasturba Hospital, a premier tertiary centre with 2032 beds and is the apex teaching hospital established in 1961. It is well accredited and is the backbone of all the clinical teaching for the academic programmes offered by Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. Kasturba Medical College, Manipal offers peerless opportunities for research involving undergraduate and postgraduate students with support from dedicated research cell and mentors. Publications in premier journals & presentations at national and international platforms by our students have always brought laurels to the institution.

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