Advancing Transgender Health Care in the Capital Region

The decision to start hormone therapy is one that can weigh heavily on the minds of those who are struggling with gender dysphoria, according to Corinne McLeod, MD, lead physician for LGBTQ+ health in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albany Medical Center.

She said in addition to the medical aspects of care, her patients often face challenging emotions. “For years, they may have felt trapped in the wrong body, battling depression, and anxiety,” she said. This can be true especially for adolescents.

While seeking medical treatment is the right choice for all patients, research published in the National Library of Medicine has shown that gender-affirming care can have a positive impact on the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse adolescents.

“These are the issues that need to be discussed. Is hormone therapy the right choice for you? Different patients have different answers,” Dr. McLeod said.

To create a more inclusive environment, OB/GYN has initiated a multidisciplinary effort focusing on compassionate, effective, and affirming care for transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents. Staff is trained on transgender health issues, pronoun usage, and more. Dr. McLeod’s team is comprised of physicians from various disciplines, such as endocrinology, internal medicine, urology, and plastic surgery, offering a wide range of services to patients.

“What makes Albany Medical Center unique is our multidisciplinary approach to care that addresses the unique needs of transgender patients,” Dr. McLeod said. “This promotes health equity and creates a more inclusive and equitable health care system for all.”

She recalls one conversation with a teen patient experiencing a sense of unease with their identity. The young person was eager to speak with Dr. McLeod, however, their parent had reservations and concerns about the potential risks and benefits of starting treatment at a young age.

“During our conversation, we talked about the importance of involving the young person in the decision-making process and listening to their goals and concerns,” Dr. McLeod said. “As we spoke, I could hear their excitement and anticipation building. And, their parent shared that they had never seen their child smile so brightly.”