Dr. Sal Biazzo started the Gender Care Team (GCT) in 2019, an initiative that has renewed his excitement about practicing medicine while helping him learn new ways to aid a previously “invisible” population that was often ignored in health care policy debates or training — until recently.
When the GCT first started, it was with a goal to learn about hormone replacement treatments for transgender people and focus on how to administer, prescribe, and provide follow up medical care.
But, the GCT rapidly discovered, health and wellness for transgender patients is about much more than hormone therapy. As with any other marginalized group in health care, it is important for providers and staff to understand the unique needs of their patients and be respectful of cultural differences.
Biazzo, a senior staff physician at UNLV, received the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians 2023 Award for Leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion because of his time developing a cultural competency training that has ballooned into a train-the-trainer program. The program spread beyond the student health center to various departments across campus and into the Las Vegas Community. It offers both a medical or non-medical direction to participants.
Biazzo said, “The Cultural Competency training has helped faculty and staff become more aware of different groups in our campus community, which in turn, helps people be more open minded and understanding of other cultures, better at listening, and can help those become better teachers.”
The more the campus community can encourage individuals to use the services provided, the more successful our students will be academically, according to Biazzo.
He and other team members also started teaching a Queer Sex 101 event at the beginning of fall semester to educate more students about safe sex, what constitutes consent, and general education on removing barriers related to sex and gender.
Biazzo said, “It would be nice if all faculty and staff were aware of the Gender Care Team, so if they had a student say something like, ‘I identify as a transgender female,’ that faculty or staff member could say, ‘Hey, did you know about the Gender Care Team?’ It’s important for students, staff, and faculty to be informed of the services offered right on campus to help improve our quality of life.”
The Student Wellness GCT is a collaborative team of medical and mental health specialists who work together to provide transgender and gender non-conforming students with the best care possible in a welcoming, accepting, and respectful environment. To give people the greatest care regarding gender identity, GCT clinicians can also collaborate with outside providers with a signed information release.
To schedule an initial consultation to talk about the GCT and/or gender identity issues, students can phone the Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (702) 895-3627, or the Student Health Center (SHC)/Faculty and Staff Treatment (FAST) Center at (702) 895-3370.