Children’s Minnesota offers transgender and gender diverse children the care they need and deserve with their new Gender Health program.
Children’s Minnesota has long been known for its excellence in pediatric care, but it wasn’t until recently that it became a leader in care for transgender and gender diverse children. In April, Children’s Minnesota opened its Gender Health program to serve children and families navigating the medical and social implications of gender diversity.
In 2016, the state of Minnesota offered a statewide survey to high school students to determine how many children identify as transgender or gender diverse. The results determined that more than 20,000 high school students in Minnesota identify as such, yet there are extremely limited health care resources for them.
“Transgender and gender diverse kids are medically underserved and need help accessing care,” says Dr. Angela Gopferd, pediatrician and medical director of the Gender Health program. “They experience great health disparities, so we’re trying to close that gap.”
Dr. Gopferd says Children’s Minnesota’s mission is to serve every family to help raise healthier children, and in order to really serve every family, they need to be more inclusive of GLBT children and families, which is why the Gender Health program was so necessary.
“The community sees us as experts in pediatric health care, so we want to be able to provide this resource for all families and gender diverse kids. They need care, and they deserve care,” Dr. Gopferd says. “[The Gender Health program] helps send a message that we really value the health of gender diverse and transgender children, so other organizations will hopefully follow in our footsteps.”
The Gender Health program offers a variety of services for transgender and gender diverse children and their families. These services include gender consultations for children of all ages and their families to learn more about gender and access resources, mental health assessments and referrals as needed, and a variety of medical services including puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormones, and fertility preservation consultations. They also offer children and their families guidance and support in order to navigate their medical, social, and legal needs.
Dr. Gopferd says the Gender Health program serves new patients as old as 18 years old, but they do continue caring for existing patients once they are older than 18.
“Patients older than 18 will continue with us for a while, but then we will help them transition to an adult provider that offers gender diverse and transgender health care,” Dr. Gopferd says. “There are great facilities in the Twin Cities that we refer patients to for gender health programs that focus on adults. It’s an easy transition from us to other family physicians that offer transgender and gender diverse health care in the Twin Cities.”
Children’s Minnesota does not turn away any child or family due to an inability to pay for health care services, which includes the Gender Health program. Dr. Gopferd says the Gender Health program services should be covered by insurance, so if a family has insurance, it should be applicable for any Gender Health services. For families without insurance or experiencing problems paying for Gender Health services, Dr. Gopferd says they will always work to help every family access the care they need. “I anticipate the clinic will be pretty accessible for all families,” she says.
For more information about the Gender Health program’s services or to schedule an appointment, visit www.childrensmn.org/genderhealth or call 612-813-7950.
Children’s Minnesota Gender Health Program
Children’s Specialty Center
2530 Chicago Ave. S., Suite 390