Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio opens a Gender-Affirming Medical Center for LGBTQ youth to provide care, support, and medical treatment. The Medicine Center is located in the Considine Professional Building at 215 W. Bowery Street. Dr. Crystal Cole, who is an adolescent physician in the clinic, said Akron Children’s Hospital mostly treats youth who identified as transgender that means they identify as a gender other than the one they were given at birth.
Patients who are seeking support and medical help come at different stages of their life. Some patients just need some safe environment surroundings to express their feelings and issues they encountered in society. The medical center is multidisciplinary which include two young specialized physicians, an endocrinologist, social worker, therapist for checking mental health, a nurse care coordinator and medical assistant. As Dr. Cole said we are meant to be the first destination for patients and to guide them find what they are looking in life.
Majority of the transgender youths are thinking of suicide and tries to commit suicidal attempts, that is why this Medical Center has an affirmative environment in which the person is respected and cared. This kind of environment helps people to come out of suicidal thoughts and feel safe and protected. There are other two gender affirming clinics in Ohio, which include MetroHealth’s Pride Clinic in Cleveland and Cincinnati Children’s Hospitals Transgender Health Clinic. Akron Children’s has treated Pre-pubescent patients who are identified as transgender at a young age. ‘Hormone blockers’ and ‘pubertal suppression’ medicine may be asked by the patients and their parents to have a few more years to explore their identity and to avoid going through unwanted physical changes. In the beginning, patients are helped with mental health care, a wellness check, education, preventive visits, and support. For older patients, they can start with gender affirming hormones if they want but patients who are of 7-year-old not kept on medicine straightaway. Although the center does not perform surgeries but help patients to address their mental health, avoid suicides, prevent homelessness.