Health Professional News

Dr. Goepferd shares the importance of normalizing pronouns in clinical practice

Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, Children’s Minnesota’s chief education officer, medical director of the Gender Health Program, presented “Support Without Steering: Gender Identity in Pediatric Populations” to the internal medicine pediatrics clinicians at Park Nicollet in Maple Grove, Minn. on Oct. 14, 2020. The information shared focused on supporting gender diverse kids and adolescents, and included tips to make patients feel comfortable during appointments. Dr. Goepferd also shared how she supports the parents and caregivers of her patients.

“It’s really important to use the correct pronouns because it’s a reflection of someone’s identity so you’re really saying ‘I see you. I see how you identify. And I want to reflect that,’” said Dr. Goepferd.

Angela Goepferd

Dr. Goepferd encouraged clinicians use the correct name and pronoun(s) when speaking to their patients. She indicated that using the correct name, which could be different than the name given at birth, is very important and she gave several examples of how to operationalize this in a medical practice. For example, she urged clinicians to share their name and preferred pronoun(s) at the time of introduction, and then ask everyone in the room to share their name and pronoun(s) as well. This normalizes the practice and does not single out the patient.

Overall Dr. Goepferd indicated that kids today view gender much differently than previous generations; it is much more flexible than the narrow definition society previously defined. She notes that if clinicians want to prepare for the future they should consider these changes now and start to alter their practice to be more inclusive.

If you’d like to learn more about using pronouns as a regular part of your practice, take a look at our what parents should know about pronouns blog post.

Stephanie Hoff