The OHSU Transgender Health Program was founded in 2015 to serve gender-diverse people and the larger community.
Since then, we have served thousands of patients, trained thousands of health care providers, and greatly expanded our offerings.
Learn more about our:
- History and accomplishments
- Role in OHSU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion
- Services for OHSU employees and students
The OHSU Transgender Health Program provides safe, comprehensive, affirming health care for the transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. We endeavor to improve the community's overall well-being through education, research and leadership that responds to the health care needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.
History and highlights
OHSU providers, administrators, advocates, patients and families worked together to create the vision for the Transgender Health Program. The program was designed to meet the needs identified by the community — and to continue to evolve as those needs grow and shift.
The OHSU Partnership Project, a collaboration of Portland-area public and private agencies serving the HIV and gender-diverse communities, was a driving force.
Timeline and highlights:
- The THP secures OHSU funding.
- The THP begins in January, hiring Amy Penkin, LCSW, as coordinator. (She is now the clinical program manager.) The program offers information, education, training, advocacy and other services to patients and providers.
- Founding OHSU doctors are Dr. Christina Milano, a family physician, and Dr. Daniel Dugi, a urologist and surgeon.
- 503 referrals/consultations.
- 38 training sessions, reaching 1,248 health care professionals.
- The program advocates better benefits for transgender care under the Oregon Health Plan.
- 1,475 referrals/consultations.
- 80 new pediatric patients.
- 45 training sessions, reaching 1,098 health care professionals.
- A staff social worker is hired to help patients with information and pediatric appointments.
- Expansion of volunteer recruitment and projects.
- Gender-neutral clinic added.
- Bottom surgeries added.
- Dr. Jens Berli, a plastic surgeon, joins the THP as a transgender medicine specialist.
- About 2,275 referrals/consultations.
- 165 new pediatric patients.
- 73 training sessions, reaching 1,856 health care professionals; nearly all sessions now by request instead of outreach.
- Providers from Europe and across the U.S. visit to learn our model.
- Presentations at national/international conferences by staff members and providers.
- Patient education classes begin on fertility preservation and preparing for surgery.
- OHSU policy to provide gender-neutral restrooms and other facilities implemented.
- Successful campaign to make gender-neutral restrooms available in Portland city government buildings and 1,000 businesses.
- Relationships begin with Military Health, the Oregon Department of Corrections and British Columbia Trans Health to provide surgical care.
- New intake process for pediatric patients begins.
- About 3,800 referrals/consultations.
- 167 new pediatric patients.
- 85 training sessions, reaching 2,380 health care professionals.
- Central referral process added.
- Here4You peer support program officially launches.
- OHSU Transgender Affirming Healthcare policy approved to guide staff.
- Funding approval for two mental health provider positions.
- Approval for plastic surgery fellowship.
- New hires in urology and mental health.
- Two more urology surgeons and two psychologists are hired to join the THP.
- An ear, nose and throat surgeon skilled in Adam’s apple reduction (laryngochrondoplasty) and vocal surgery joins the THP.
- OHSU electronic health records are upgraded to allow details on gender identity, sexual orientation, pronouns and updated names.
- Community Advisory Board launched to help shape and guide the program.
- OHSU launches a monthly Academic Gender Center Coordinators’ Consultation to welcome other transgender health programs to collaborate and consult.
- OHSU starts a Transgender Health Program Research Collaborative to share research findings with other institutions.
- Two fellows are chosen to train in transgender surgery in summer 2020 under Dr. Dugi and Dr. Berli.
- We respond to more than 1,600 requests for service through a new online form.
- 59 training sessions, reaching 1,897 health care professionals.
- We add a patient navigator to guide patients through care.
- We add psychiatry services for adults, and psychology services for adults and children.
- Our pediatric gender clinic has more than 600 visits and welcomes 200 new patients, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Surgeries resume after a two-month pause during the pandemic.
- A new virtual family medicine trans health clinic launches.
- A primary care/hormone therapy e-consult service launches.
- We work with Prestige Care to open an LGBTQ+ wing in Prestige’s Milwaukie skilled-nursing facility, with an emphasis on transgender care.
- Surgical fellowships begin, with a fellow in urology and a fellow in plastic surgery.
- THP staff, faculty, students and volunteers make presentations at local, state, national and international conferences.
- Robotic-assisted surgery is added to vaginoplasty options.
- Patient education materials are expanded, and include information for pediatric patients, and a video and booklet on vaginoplasty.
- THP again named a leader in the LGBTQ+ Health Care Equity Index.
Diversity and inclusion
The Transgender Health Program offers culturally responsive medical care as part of OHSU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This includes:
- Services for you and your allies to improve understanding and your comfort.
- Services customized for particular populations.
- Services for OHSU employees that increase community involvement and build OHSU’s culture of inclusion.
The THP also:
The Transgender Health Program is led by:
- Clinical program manager: Amy Penkin
- Medical director: Dr. Christina Milano
- Surgical director: Dr. Daniel Dugi
- Doernbecher Gender Clinic director: Dr. Kara Connelly
We are also guided by:
Transgender Health Program Advisory Board: This group of OHSU leaders meets quarterly to develop program improvements.
Transgender Health Program Community Meetings: These monthly meetings are open to public participation. (See schedule under “Get involved” below.) It offers:
- Discussion of transgender and gender-diverse health topics and resources
- Reports on the program’s activities
- The opportunity for community groups that address transgender health care to briefly present their services and activities
Transgender Health Program Community Advisory Board: This group is made up of transgender and gender-nonbinary people who have received program services or who represent served communities. Members apply to serve two-year terms. The group meets quarterly to advise the program about programs and services. Learn how to apply.
We are committed to helping the transgender and gender-nonconforming communities thrive by addressing issues big and small. We work with leaders in government, business and the community to change laws and policies. You’ll find us working to build a culture of inclusiveness at:
- Resource and health fairs
- Town halls
- Pride Northwest events
Services for OHSU employees and students
The THP offers services and resources for OHSU staff and students, including:
- Coaching and support for transgender and gender-nonconforming employees, including employees who are navigating transitioning in the workplace.
- Coaching for colleagues and supervisors of transgender and gender-nonconforming employees.
- Training in gender-affirming health care.
- Help developing policies that support an inclusive environment, such as having gender-neutral restrooms.
OHSU’s transgender care history
Read an article from our archives about Dr. Ira Pauly, a pioneer in transgender health care.
Other questions and concerns
Contact us at:
Refer a patient
- Please complete our Request for Transgender Health Services referral form and fax with relevant medical records to 503-346-6854.
- Learn more on our For Health Care Professionals page.
Hear from two of our founders
Learn about two Transgender Health Program founders, Dr. Christina Milano and Dr. Daniel Dugi, in their own words. They interviewed each other as part of an oral history project. Topics include why they became doctors, how they got involved in caring for the gender-diverse community, and the evolution of care.
Learn more about LGBTQ history at OHSU, including the first known transgender graduate more than a century ago.