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16-04-2020 | Show and Tell | Uitgave 5/2020 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 5/2020

Teaching health professionals how to tailor gender-affirming medicine protocols: A design thinking project

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 5/2020
Kinnon R. MacKinnon, Lori E. Ross, David Rojas Gualdron, Stella L. Ng
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The original version of this article was revised: The name of David Rojas Gualdron was presented incorrectly.
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s40037-020-00583-3.



Content knowledge surrounding transgender (trans) medicine is currently lacking in the formal medical education curricula. Evidence indicates that the main protocols used to assess and refer trans patients for gender-affirming medicine are misunderstood by health professionals, and require flexible adaptation to achieve health equity and patient-centred care.


A free online educational tool for gender-affirming medicine, The Path to Patient-Centred Care, was developed to teach learners how to adapt assessment protocols. Resource creation was supported by a knowledge translation grant that endorsed design thinking, a human-centred and solutions-focused framework recommended for use in curriculum development.


The Path to Patient-Centred Care provides learners with information related to key principles of patient-centred care in gender-affirming medicine, including a guide on how to adapt the main assessment protocols to achieve equitable care. The curriculum also includes narratives from trans patients and health professionals that focus on health equity, and a clinical vignette about a complex case, designed to foster critical thinking on medical ethics. Project future directions involve an implementation and evaluation pilot study with a diverse group of continuing professional development medical learners using a mixed-methods program evaluation design.


The use of design thinking to develop this resource exemplifies a novel approach to curriculum development. By using pedagogical strategies that foster critical reflection, this innovative online education tool strives to teach self-directed learners how to provide care that emphasizes trans people’s self-determination and autonomy in medical decision-making.
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