By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Improving the care of the transgender community. After a nearly 40 year hiatus, Johns Hopkins Hospital is once again working to lead the way for transgender health care.

Johns Hopkins is aiming to provide a model of inclusion in the medical field for the transgender community.

The fight for transgender rights is an ongoing dialogue in our country. especially in the health industry.

“This is an opportunity for me, as a formal naval officer, as a lawyer, as an advocate, and as a nurse for two decades, to be in a position where I can help make a difference for a disfavored minority,” said nurse educator Paula M. Neira.

Neira, who left the military to transition from male to female, understands the limits of care accessible to transgender patients.

“Johns Hopkins is moving forward,” said Neira. “We are going to take care of transgender people in a supportive, affirming way that’s grounded in evidence-based medicine.”

Not only is Johns Hopkins providing care for transgender patients today, they’re also setting up programs to help the next generation of providers.

“When they leave Hopkins, and go wherever they go in the country and around the globe, now there are providers exposed to transgender health, and one of the issues with access to care is the low level of knowledge of health care providers because it hasn’t been a part of our training,” Neira said.

As the clinical program director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health, Neira looks to once again make Hopkins the global leader for transgender related care.

A vital need that was missing for nearly 40 years.

The decision to restart operations shows a strong commitment to equality that will revolutionize the care and training in the field.

Since the soft launch of the program in February, Johns Hopkins is now providing care for more than a dozen transgender patients in the Baltimore area.

The Johns Hopkins Transgender Health Center is expected to be fully operating this summer.

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