Transgender-Related Education in Plastic Surgery and Urology Residency Programs

J Grad Med Educ. 2017 Apr;9(2):178-183. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-16-00417.1.


Background: With increasing public awareness of and greater coverage for gender-confirming surgery by insurers, more transgender patients are likely to seek surgical transition. The degree to which plastic surgery and urology trainees are prepared to treat transgender patients is unknown.

Objective: We assessed the number of hours dedicated to transgender-oriented education in plastic surgery and urology residencies, and the impact of program director (PD) attitudes on provision of such training.

Methods: PDs of all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited plastic surgery (91) and urology (128) programs were invited to participate. Surveys were completed between November 2015 and March 2016; responses were collected and analyzed.

Results: In total, 154 PDs (70%) responded, and 145 (66%) completed the survey, reporting a yearly median of 1 didactic hour and 2 clinical hours of transgender content. Eighteen percent (13 of 71) of plastic surgery and 42% (31 of 74) of urology programs offered no didactic education, and 34% (24 of 71) and 30% (22 of 74) provided no clinical exposure, respectively. PDs of programs located in the southern United States were more likely to rate transgender education as unimportant or neutral (23 of 37 [62%] versus 39 of 105 [37%]; P = .017). PDs who rated transgender education as important provided more hours of didactic content (median, 1 versus 0.75 hours; P = .001) and clinical content (median, 5 versus 0 hours; P < .001).

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of plastic surgery and urology residencies provide no education on transgender health topics, and those that do, provide variable content. PD attitudes toward transgender-specific education appear to influence provision of training.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Surgery, Plastic / education*
  • Surgery, Plastic / psychology
  • Transgender Persons*
  • United States
  • Urology / education*