Transgender & primary care specialties at North Memorial Health clinics

North Memorial Better Health Blog Author Logo
April 13, 2017

Care For All

It can be difficult when a friend or family member struggles with your transgender identity. But when it’s your primary care provider, you can face even greater discomfort and apprehension.

Transgender individuals often confront unique barriers to accessing quality primary care, including discrimination and their provider’s lack of familiarity with transgender health issues related to hormones, surgery, lifestyle, and a number of other issues.

However, North Memorial Health is one of the few places where transgender individuals can access all of their primary care and gender-related medical needs from professionals who are culturally competent and routinely work with the LGBT population.

In fact, North Memorial Health includes a number of open LGBT providers as well as many straight allies who welcome LGBT customers and specialize in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender health.

And each of the North Memorial Health Clinics in Brooklyn Center and Maple Grove follows the standards of care and best practices set by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).

Stronger Transgender Support with Provider & Pharmacist Co-leadership

North Memorial Health’s gender dysphoria care team is led by certified Family Medicine Provider, Erik Haugland, MD, and Pharmacist, Mary Sauer, Pharm D, BCACP, AE-C who follow the WPATH standards of care. This combination of a provider and pharmacist team provides transgender customers with added support and resources to help them make informed decisions about their care.

In the case of hormone therapy, a pharmacist can provide information and insight on the risks, benefits, side effects, and expected results. For example, both estrogen and testosterone therapies can increase your long-term risk of different types of cancers and other negative health outcomes such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and blood clots. And, both medications can potentially affect fertility so an early discussion about these effects is critical. The pharmacist and provider team help people who are considering starting hormones clearly understand the implications of their decisions over the long term.

A clinical pharmacist who understands transgender health can also be instrumental in troubleshooting medication problems, helping with practical issues of dosing, and obtaining payment authorizations from insurance companies.

Help for Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria

With more and more people coming out as young teenagers, North Memorial family medicine providers are available to help, particularly for adolescents with gender dysphoria.

Interventions such as puberty suppression medication(s) can often give youth with potential gender dysphoria more time to explore their identity without the stress of going through puberty at the same time.

By preventing the effects of puberty, medications make it possible for adolescents to carefully evaluate their future through counseling, while providing the opportunity for more careful consideration of the ramifications of the decisions they need to make. The emotional maturity gained in these extra years can be a great help in sorting through the issues they face.

Puberty suppression medications can also make transgender-related surgery less invasive and result in better long-term cosmetic effects for the individual.

The Advantage of a Primary Care Setting

North Memorial Health has created an environment where transgender customers feel welcomed and receive quality care along with other members of their family. They can be confident that their routine screenings will be provided by a medical team who will treat them with respect and empathy.

The LGBT population has a higher rate of diabetes, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. It’s important to stay up-to-date on annual physicals including cancer screening that is tailored to their unique needs and risk factors. Because North Memorial Health offers the full range of primary care, transgender customers can discuss regular primary care issues while their hormones are being appropriately managed which ultimately increases the convenience of all their medical care.


To make an appointment, call 763-581-CARE or schedule online.

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