Toronto, Nov. 17, 2016 

Easy-to-use interactive map will assist healthcare providers in offering advanced care to trans and gender-diverse patients.

On Nov. 24, 2016, Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO), a program of Sherbourne Health, will officially launch the Trans Primary Care Guide.

A first of its kind in Canada, the Trans Primary Care Guide is an innovative online interactive tool to assist healthcare providers in offering primary and transition-related care to trans and gender-diverse patients.

The Guide provides an introduction to trans care issues, addresses common fears around providing hormone therapy, and maps out guidelines and protocols for caring for trans patients. This inventive tool is based on Sherbourne’s globally-used Guidelines and Protocols for Trans Clients handbook, which was first published in 2009 and revised in 2015. The Guide was developed in partnership with Kelly Speck, a student of the University of Toronto (U of T)’s Biomedical Communications program.

The Guide’s launch is open to healthcare providers across Canada, and will include a live event and a webinar demonstrating its key features and benefits.

Quick facts – Why is effective trans care urgent?

  • Trans people report a variety of negative experiences when accessing healthcare, including being denied hormone prescriptions.
  • ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Approximately half of trans Ontarians are not comfortable discussing trans issues with their doctor.
  • Suicide ideation and attempt rates are alarmingly high among trans people, and are correlated with access to transition-related care. For people who are seeking medical transition, past-year suicide attempt rates can be as high as 27 per cent, and for people who have completed a medical transition, suicide attempt rates drop down to almost the same as population average.
  • On average, Ontario doctors in training receive only 5-7 hours of LGBT-related education during 4 years of medical school


“The nature of this information – mapping the different journeys of trans clients through the medical system and the supports that may be needed throughout — was well-suited to a non-linear, interactive format. Developed with the help of a community-based, iterative design research strategy, we hope that healthcare professionals and trans people alike will benefit from this online resource.”

Kelly Speck, graduate of the M.Sc. program inBiomedical Communications, University of Toronto, and design and development lead for the Trans Primary Care Guide

“We’re extremely proud to launch this user-friendly guide. Our hope is that it will be a practical tool to assist providers in integrating trans healthcare needs into their practice, as well as a valuable resource for trans patients when advocating for their own needs.”

Devon MacFarlane, Director, Rainbow Health Ontario

“The Guide uses clear and concise language to explain trans care in a way that primary healthcare providers can apply to their daily practice. It’s an access point to trans care knowledge that highlights key facts, and gives providers the resources to feel confident in providing client-centred, quality trans care. This is a valuable reference for all medical learners, including both new and experienced providers, and anyone who wants to understand more about trans health.”

–   Laura Pripstein, Medical Director and Staff Physician, Sherbourne Health

About Rainbow Health Ontario

Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) is a province-wide program of Sherbourne Health that works to promote the health of Ontario’s LGBT2SQ communities and improve their access to services. RHO creates resources, provides information and consultation services, delivers education and training, and supports research to develop evidence-based practice and informed public policy.

About Sherbourne Health

Sherbourne Health is an urban health agency in downtown Toronto that provides holistic primary care and chronic disease management, mental health services, health promotion and education, and outreach and social supports. Sherbourne’s doors are open to everyone; with a focus on the LGBT2SQ community, homeless and under-housed people, and newcomers to Canada, as members of these populations have complex needs that are often not met by traditional health care.


Jamie Louie
Communications Officer
Sherbourne Health
Tel: 416-324-4100 ext. 5270