Just in time for Pride Month, Canadian medical professionals who serve 2SLGBTQ communities can add a valuable new tool to their bookshelf.
Caring for LGBTQ2S People: A Clinical Guide Second Edition, published by University of Toronto Press, is edited by one of Sherbourne Health’s physicians, Dr. Amy Bourns, as well as Dr. Edward Kuchaski, a former Sherbourne Medical Director. The book features significant contributions from a number of Sherbourne health care providers, including Drs. Quang Nguyen, Sydney Tam, and Jordan Goodridge.
Amy asked her colleague Edward to team up to fully update the initial resource created by Allan Perkin and Cathy Risdon in 2003. The duo then tapped into their networks for knowledgeable clinicians from across Canada, many of whom identify as 2SLGBTQ themselves, to write specific chapters building on an intersectional approach to care.
The 2022 edition contains four new chapters dedicated to newcomers, Two Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ patients, disability-related care, and seniors.
They hope the renewed work serves both as reference material that established clinicians can regularly consult for decision-making as well as an essential part of education for early-career health care providers.
We spoke to Amy about Caring for LGBTQ2S People, the importance of its content, and how Sherbourne’s history informed the work.
What inspired you and your collaborators to develop this guide?
One of the major shifts we’re seeing is that 2SLGBTQ health care, particularly when it came to trans health, used to be sort of viewed as marginal, or in the area of a very few number of expert specialists —there was a feeling that the rest of us didn’t really need to know anything about that.
Now there’s a broader recognition that providing competent care requires both cultural and clinical knowledge. There’s a desire for everyone, including family doctors providing broad spectrum care, to be able to do that.
How did your role at Sherbourne and your experiences here inform this edition?
There’s lots of fingerprints from Sherbourne throughout the book. Our anti-discrimination policy and intake forms are also featured as noteworthy examples of inclusivity in the book. And three of our clinicians, Drs. Quang Nguyen, Sydney Tam, and Jordan Goodridge, all wrote chapters.
Sydney’s chapter provides a great overview of the factors that influence the patient-provider relationship. Jordan contributed to a chapter on sexual health. And I’m excited about Quang’s chapter on HIV. The second half of the chapter is a summary of different guidelines to treating HIV in primary care, but the first half of the chapter is quite unique in medical literature as it covers Canada’s HIV organizing history.
I love how he’s collected information on how grassroots activism impacted structures and supports that are accessed by patients to this day. This is a clinical guide, but when you’re talking about our population, you cannot separate the clinical from the political, the legal, and the societal contexts that affect us.
Sherbourne Health has been a pillar, in terms of how I approach my care of patients and how I approach educating other health care providers in caring for our community well.
This is a clinical guide, but when you’re talking about our population, you cannot separate the clinical from the political, the legal, and the societal contexts that affect us.
— Dr. Amy Bourns
Although learning hormone protocols for gender-affirming care here and other clinical contributions like that were key, what I found most important was the non-tangible values of Sherbourne: the anti-oppressive approaches, the collaborations, patient-centered decision-making, and accessible, trauma-informed care.
Any advice for health care providers who read the book and would like to take next steps for furthering their education?
This book is really the Canadian perspective of the authors, in this moment of time. Attending conferences, as well as resources from Rainbow Health Ontario, CPATH, and WPATH are valuable ways to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s changing, clinically and in the world.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.