Medical schools are hiring transgender actors (not you, Matt Bomer) to help prepare aspiring doctors to work in the real world, where they will undoubtedly run into transgender patients.
A study published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education shows that there are real benefits to using transgender actors to make medical residents more comfortable treating transgender people, as the Daily Beast first reported. Medical schools have frequently recruited actors for training purposes, but those actors have traditionally been cisgender—which means doctors rarely get experience working with transgender patients until after medical school.
Dr. Richard Greene, the director of gender and health education at NYU Langone Medical Center, decided to rectify that situation by hiring a transgender actress to play a patient. In the classroom, the actress presented 23 residents with a faux case study with symptoms—high blood pressure and high levels of potassium—that appeared in conjunction with estrogen and a testosterone-suppressing drug that are common in the trans community. “Even those who had baseline knowledge of care for transgender patients before the study found that learning in this safe, simulated way added value in helping them provide more sensitive care for transgender patients,” Greene said in a press release. It’s a first step towards making health care more inclusive.