Support for Primary Care Providers

The Champlain region is currently facing a trans health crisis. The two primary trans health providers in the region, Centretown Community Health Centre’s Trans Health Program and CHEO’s Gender Diversity Clinic, are facing ever growing demand that outpaces capacity. Trans and gender diverse patients are facing waitimes of up to 22 months to access potentially life saving hormone starts and surgery referrals. A crucial step to improving trans health in the Champlain region is the active involvement of primary health care providers in gender-affirming care.

Many aspects of gender-affirming healthcare rest within the purview of primary care providers, including general physicians and nurse practitioners. Centretown Community Health Centre and CHEO’s Gender Diversity Clinic have compiled the following supports and resources to help primary care providers build their knowledge, confidence and competence in transition-related healthcare, most notably in regards to hormone replacement therapy.

If you are a primary care provider and would like additional support and guidance, the following options are available to you:

To join the Champlain Trans Health Providers Network, which connects and supports local primary care providers in the provision of transition-related healthcare services, please visit www.transhealthottawa.org/network and complete the registration form.

Centretown’s Trans Health Program offers local support and mentorship on hormone replacement therapy for primary care providers. You can reach out to the trans health program at transhealth@centretownchc.org.

Sherbourne Health has developed guidelines for gender-affirming primary care. They have information on assessing readiness, diagnosis, hormone therapy, blood work monitoring and links to the surgeries that are covered by OHIP. Also included are consent forms and EAP forms.

The full guidelines are linked here, and links to an interactive online version and a 7-page quick reference guide are also available at this link.

eConsult is a secure web-based tool, hosted on OTNHub, that allows physicians or nurse practitioners timely access to specialist advice for all patients. Gender-affirming care advice is available on eConsult from a number of specialists across the province. 

How to Submit an eConsult to a Transgender specialist or specialty group:

Search ‘Transgender’ in the OTNHub Directory to view a list of physicians who provide gender- affirming care eConsult advice and use the Request eConsult icon in the top right corner of the specialist’s listing.

After clicking ‘Request an eConsult’ in your dashboard, choose ‘BASE Managed Specialty’ and then ‘Transgender’, or, Consult with local trans specialists by searching ‘HNHB Regional Transgender Group’ in the OTNHub Directory and use the Request eConsult icon in the top right corner of the group’s listing.

Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) offers a range of supports for health care providers through an online learning platform. Create an account to access both foundational and more specialized courses. The three courses specific to primary care are: 

  • Transition-related Hormone Therapy in Primary Health Care
  • Puberty Suppression for Trans Youth in Primary Health Care
  • Transition-related Surgeries: Planning, Referral, and Care

RHO also offers a twice monthly Trans Health Mentorship Call, that can be accessed by enrolling through their learning platform linked above. This conference call acts as a community of practice for providing health care to trans patients. Health care providers can ask specific case-based questions or listen and learn from other professionals working with trans patients.

The SOGI Nursing Website offers a toolkit for Nurses and Nursing Educators committed to providing resources and education around 2SLGBTQ+ issues in health care. The toolkit is comprised of 5 lessons designed for self-directed learning. Explore the toolkit to gain access to introductory knowledge on these topics, teaching tools, learning resources, and links to relevant external resources.