Background: The project team’s recent study, which was supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, showed that mental health diagnoses were several times more common among transgender children and adolescents than among nontransgender kids of the same age. The results were particularly worrisome for self-injury and suicidal thoughts.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: Doctors, family members, and school staff need to know about dangers facing transgender children and adolescents and take steps to reduce these dangers.
Objectives: The goal of this project is to educate healthcare providers (doctors and nurses), parents, and school counselors about risks facing transgender children and adolescents, and to let them know about available ways of reducing these risks.
Activities: The project team plans to put together educational materials (presentations or videos) explaining the dangers facing transgender children and adolescents and describing various ways of helping them. The team will use examples of materials created for similar situations. These materials will be developed together with stakeholders (community partners). The materials will be tested by organizing online focus groups, which are similar to chat rooms one can join on the internet. Separate materials and separate focus groups will be put together for three audiences: doctors and nurses, school counselors, and parents of transgender youth. Once the materials are finalized based on suggestions from the stakeholders and the focus groups, the team will distribute these materials to partner organizations—the Mental Health Research Network, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the American School Counselor Association.
Outcomes and Outputs: The project team expects that the educational materials it is about to develop will make a difference in three ways. First, the team expects that people who receive the education will become more knowledgeable about health risks facing transgender children and adolescents; this can be measured by comparing how much people learned during the online focus groups. Second, the team expects that the education will improve care offered to transgender children and adolescents; this can be confirmed in the near future by checking if children receive necessary appointments and referrals after they come out to their doctors, school counselors, or their parents. In the long run, the team hopes that this will help lower the risk of life-threatening events and thoughts about suicide.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: A very important part of this study is involvement of stakeholders (community partners) representing the three groups of people the team is planning to reach: doctors, parents of TGNC youth, and school counselors. The stakeholder advisory group will be actively involved in the development of the educational materials. Additional stakeholders will be participants in the online focus groups. They will help the team understand if the educational materials are clear and interesting and if they improve knowledge about problems facing transgender children and adolescents.
Project Collaborators: This project will build on the relationship between Emory University and five partner organizations: Kaiser Permanente Georgia, Henry Ford Health System, the Mental Health Research Network, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the American School Counselor Association.