Dr. Reisa Sperling, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) for her pioneering clinical research that revolutionized the concept of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.
On Monday, June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling expanding employment discrimination protections guaranteed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBTQ employees. This should be cause for celebration, except that it was juxtaposed with a policy change to the Affordable Care Act made by the Department of Health and Human Services three days earlier allowing providers to refuse care to patients who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or queer. This has made for a confusing time for the LGBTQ community during a month usually reserved for celebrating Pride.
“It is not legislation. It is not judicial action. And it does not take effect for 60 days from the date that it is finally published," he says. “So nothing will change for anyone across this country over the next 60 days. The hope is that judicial action will actually push back on this ruling.”
The Impact on Transgender Health
The Transgender Health Program at Mass General has always been committed to providing gender-affirming care to all patients.
“Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care,” says Dr. Goldstein. “It is the best tool we have to prevent suicide, violence and trauma against the transgender community.”
But despite the inclusive nature of care at Mass General, the impact of the policy change could be far-reaching. Massachusetts already has laws in place protecting people based on gender identity and sexual orientation in health care. So patients who live in Massachusetts or have Massachusetts-based insurance will likely not be affected. But the challenges in obtaining coverage for gender-affirming care could come for those patients who travel for care at Mass General.
“It becomes our responsibility to advocate and fight for those people who may not be able to get care," says Dr. Goldstein. “Local and national advocacy are going to be really important to build up the laws in each state to protect folks no matter where they live, and to try to bring down the federal regulations that are denying care.”
The Current Climate
During COVID-19, the transgender community has not been able to visit support groups or affirming spaces, has struggled to receive medications that require injections in a health care setting and has had surgeries delayed, which have not yet been rescheduled.
At Mass General, clinicians worked quickly to maintain their connections with patients and the community, Dr. Goldstein says.
“We very quickly turned to virtual visits and figured out ways that we could get people in for injections. We have obviously had roadblocks, but we have tried to be very present for our patients.”
The Transgender Health Program has always been built on a racial justice mission. They see more patients of color on average than the hospital as a whole and work hard to make sure the spaces are gender-affirming, racially affirming and ethnically affirming.
“There’s no other group in the U.S. that experiences violence at the rate of trans women of color,” Dr. Goldstein says. And as such, he has seen the transgender community come out strong during the Black Lives Matter protests and national conversation.
“The trans community has really come out to say: ‘We are here. We are part of this conversation and we are not just black women. We are not just trans women. We are a group that has all this intersectionality and it is important for us to be there and to be a part of the conversation.’”
The Transgender Health Program is committed to meet patients where they are and affirming who they are, and have been active in the community partnering with organizations like the Trans Club of New England, the AIDS Action Committee, the Boston Living Center – Victory Programs and BAGLY to further support the community amid troubling and confusing times.
In 2020, Pride celebrations were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, virtual celebrations occurred around the world. But Dr. Goldstein sees Pride Month as a time to reflect on his work with the LGBTQ community throughout the year.
“Pride Month is not the only time of the year when this hospital or the Transgender Health Program or any of us does the work of caring for LGBTQ patients,” he says. “We are committed to the broader LGBTQ community year-round. But in June we get to stop for a second and recognize the work that is being done, the community that is stronger because of that work and all the people here at Mass General who do the work every single day to make this place better for LGBTQ folks.”
- Oct | 18 | 2021
Massachusetts General Hospital named one of the World’s Best Specialized Hospitals for Orthopedics by Newsweek
Massachusetts General Hospital has been ranked #3 globally in Newsweek’s World’s Best Specialized Hospitals 2022. Mass General ranked as the #1 orthopedics hospital in New England.
- Oct | 18 | 2021
We are excited to welcome Dr. Doreen Ho as our newest faculty to the Healey Center for ALS. Dr. Ho previously completed a neuromuscular fellowship at Mass General Brigham, where she was colleagues with Dr. James Berry, now chief of our ALS and Motor Neuron Diseases Division.
- Oct | 18 | 2021
Mass General Neurologist Receives the American Neurological Association’s Audrey S. Penn Lectureship Award
Nicte Mejia, MD, MPH, FAAN, director of the Mass General Neurology Community Health, Diversity and Inclusion program, was awarded the Audrey S. Penn Lectureship Award by the American Neurological Association.
- Oct | 16 | 2021
We held a two-day virtual event to commemorate the 175th anniversary Ether Day, the first successful public demonstration of the use of ether for surgical anesthesia, which was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital on October 16, 1846.
- Oct | 14 | 2021
An interview with McCance Center Clinical Research Coordinator Leidys Gutiérrez-Martínez , MD, MSc, who recently presented a poster at MGH Clinical Research Day, describing the effects of COVID-19 infection on the brain.