The Family Medicine Residency Program’s Transgender & Non-Binary Clinic at Long Beach Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of this very needed clinic in the Long Beach community. The Clinic offers a wide range of services, including gender-affirming hormone therapy, primary care, preventative care and medical screenings. They see all patients regardless of insurance type or ability to pay, and work with patients to find health care coverage if needed.
Visiting the doctor’s office should be a safe experience in a caring environment. However, for many transgender and non-binary patients, that is not the case. Many people within this community feel as if there are limited or unavailable resources that ultimately impact the quality of care they receive. These barriers include scarcity of knowledgeable/trained care providers who understand transgender/non-binary healthcare, lack of insurance coverage for this patient population’s specific needs, and an unfriendly office environment due to social stigma and lack of education.
“Our team is aware of these injustices,” says Odrin Castillo, D.O., director of engagement, community outreach and diversity, Family Medicine Residency Program, Long Beach Medical Center. “We’re working hard to make improvements in the health and well-being of the transgender community. One of the meaningful and positive changes we’ve made is the creation of the Family Medicine Transgender Clinic. We take a multi-disciplinary approach where we make sure the patient is getting the complete package of care. Patients can be assured knowing that here, they have a safe medical home.”
A patient’s first visit will be an intake appointment that lasts about one hour. Patients are asked assessment questions about their gender journey, hormone treatments and goals. Once they are assessed, their medical provider can offer the services available to them. Those services include surgery, mental health, voice coaching and more.
“Transgender people have a higher rate of homelessness and food insecurity,” says Dr. Castillo. “We don’t just provide medical services. We also connect them with the right resources, such as social workers and even offer our own food bank here.”
The Transgender Clinic is open every Wednesday afternoon. Prospective patients can make an appointment by calling (562) 933-0050. People at the front desk are trained to be culturally sensitive and use the right pronouns.
“If there was something I could say directly to this community, it would be, ‘We see, and we know, that some of you have been mistreated by the medical community,’” says Dr. Castillo. “Please put your trust in us. It’s important to us that our patients receive the best care possible. We’re always here for you.”
The team is working to expand this clinic to include all members of the LGBTQ+ community, and will continue to grow to meet the needs of this community.