SBV Cells & Committees
Gender Care Team
Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) envisions to be a premier global Institute of higher learning in health sciences, patient care, and research. It aims to achieve this by creating a class of healthcare professionals who are not only competent in preventing, curing and palliating disease but are also inclusive and committed towards wellness and empowerment of the society. Transgender community is a marginalised group in a society, facing challenges in the socio-economic, socio-cultural, psycho-social dimensions. Disparity, stigma and discrimination are the greatest hurdles for this community. Taking cognisance of these issues, SBV has established a transgender inclusive eco-system, a unique and distinctive endeavour for a Health science university.
A multifaceted approach was adopted to achieve the desired outcome:
- Establishment of dedicated Gender Care Clinic with a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
- Establishment of standards of care in Transgender health care with a focus on gender affirmative care (medical and surgical).
- Organizing community outreach events for health advice and counseling.
- Establishment of policies to promote and benefit transgender employees.
- Reformation of existing curricula to be more trans-inclusive.
- Promotion of research on transgender care.
Gender Care Team
SBV was catering to transgender community since 2012. The initial functionality of the transgender clinic was organized by the department of Dermatology for HIV along with sexually transmitted Infection screening, prevention and counselling. The department had a memorandum of understanding with Sahodaran Community Oriented Health Development (SCOHD), a Community Based Organization (CBO) working for sexual and human rights of Transgender community in Tamilnadu and Puducherry. To provide standard care including the gender affirmative care the Gender Care Committee was constituted in 2016, a first of its kind of an effort made by any Health Sciences university in the country. This multidisciplinary team is constituted by Mental health professionals, Surgeons, Geneticist, Nurses, Obstetrician, Dermatologist, Anaesthesiologist along with an administrative officer. The committee involved two transgender community representations who are also the employees of the institution. The expert inputs from NGOs like SAATHII (Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India) and international guidelines were used to formulate the gender affirmative care protocol. The committee members were sensitized to the basic LGBTIQ terminologies, health care priorities and transgender inclusiveness in the institution.
The multidisciplinary team was guided by a well-laid down policy and protocol for gender reassignment surgery. A predictable and successful outcome of the surgical affirmation is reflected in the progressively increasing census. A total of 200 transgender clients from 19 states of India have undergone successful surgical affirmation at SBV. This service has been made affordable and cost effective. Currently the gender affirmative surgeries also involve care for transmen clients. The transgender clinic shows a progressive increase in the patient census since 2017, from 212 to 414 in 2019.
The Palliative care team along with mental health professionals and gender care committee members organise workshops for counselling by building community self-help resources and capacity building to make them feel empowered. Mental rehabilitation through Yoga is provided by the Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (CYTER) team of SBV to bring positive mental health reforms in them.
Other health related issues are addressed by Community outreach activities. Unmonitored and quackery driven genital surgeries are rampant in the transgender community. The post procedure urogenital complications like urethral stricture, genital fistula are not addressed leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. The team in collaboration with the Urology department and the SCHOD organises community outreach event to identify such complications, arrange referrals to the hospital for further care. The dental institute of SBV in collaboration with SCHOD organises dental health and hygiene care through community services.
A comprehensive policy document was formulated by SBV to make transgender, gender non-confirming and gender transitioning employees to feel safe at the workplace. Currently 5 transgenders have been employed and the university also supported gender transition of two transgender employees.
Kasturba Gandhi Nursing College, SBV, introduced the transgender care in the nursing curriculum in 2019. It also organised a national level Training the Trainers workshop to sensitise the nursing faculty towards the curriculum delivery and patient care. Inspired by this innovative curriculum, Rani Meyyammai College of Nursing, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, invited the team from SBV to be a part of their Board of Studies to build similar curriculum for their students.
Multi-disciplinary research is being encouraged on the social and healthcare related issues prevalent in the transgender community. In 2016, a study on the Histopathology, Cytogenetic and hormonal variations on transgenders undergoing Sex reassignment surgery was conducted. The Health Issues among transgenders in urban Pondicherry was conducted in 2018 that gave an insight into the reasons for psychological stress among and its relationship to substance abuse. In 2019, the need to understand the role of palliative care was emphasised in Voices in Palliative Care for Transgender Community in India.
List of Publications:
- Palve SB, N S, T L, Patil R, A L. Health issues among transgenders in urban Pondicherry. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2018Dec.31 [cited 2021Jan.2];30(4):323 -33. Available from: https://www.iapsmupuk.org/journal/index.php/IJCH/article/view/945.
- IAPCONKochi 2019 Abstracts. Indian J Palliat Care 2019;25:260-357. APCONKochi 2019 Abstracts. Indian J Palliat Care [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 2];25:260-357. Available from: https://www.jpalliativecare.com/text.asp?2019/25/2/260/256277
- Stress on understanding transgender health needs
- Sivaranjani K S, Balu P, Kumar R S, Muthu J, Devi S S, Priyadharshini V. “Correlation of periodontal status with perceived stress scale score and cortisol levels among transgenders in Puducherry and Cuddalore”. SRM J Res Dent Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 2];10:61-4. Available from: https://www.srmjrds.in/text.asp?2019/10/2/61/262380
- Bhavanani, Ananda & Ramanathan, Meena & Madanmohan, & Thirusangu, Senthilkumar. (2016). “Effects of a Single Session of Yogic Relaxation on Cardiovascular Parameters in a Transgender Population”. International Journal of Physiology. 4. 27-31. 10.5958/2320-608X.2016.00006.8.
Kasturba Gandhi Nursing College organized a National level TOT programme (Training Of Trainers) on Incorporate Transgender inclusive Nursing Curriculum for 3 days from 20th -22nd
The Department of Public Health Dentistry, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, in association with Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry, College