California now has two medical training centers where doctors who want to learn how to perform sex-reassignment surgery for transgender individuals can go to receive training.
California started offering the training at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles in 2017 where doctors go through a Transgender Surgery and Health Program. The program’s genesis comes after urologist Maurice Garcia established the first medical training center for transgender genital reassignment surgery in California in 2014 at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center where he practices as a doctor.
The Los Angeles location is the second academic medical center in the western U.S. to offer gender reassignment surgery training, according to The New York Times. Approximately 218,000 Californians identify as transgender, the outlet also reports.
“People in leadership at Cedars had either close friends or family members who were transgender and were attuned to the needs of this population,” Garcia told the Times. “My feeling was that if I was going to be the only public provider here, we had to offer it to all parts of society.”
Transgender surgeries rose roughly 20 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons survey of 703 doctors. Less than 0.5 percent of those surgeries were genital, according to the survey released in May, NBC News reported. The 2016 survey included reports from 3,256 transgender surgeries, with the percentage of men transitioning to women and vice versa split roughly down the middle.
“In the past, U.S. citizens had to go abroad to get this care,” plastic surgeon Dr. Loren Schechter told Time Magazine in May. “The medical community now recognizes the importance of these procedures and the impact they can have on people’s lives,” he added.
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