Gender Affirming Care at UHS

Princeton University Health Services (UHS) is dedicated to respecting the rights and welfare of the Transgender and Gender Diverse community by acknowledging that gender does not exist on a binary. UHS strives to validate, and normalizes gender diversity and opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression. UHS recognizes that gender diversity is not a mental disorder and therefore condemns all forms of conversion therapy as unethical and iatrogenic.  

Further, UHS calls upon healthcare professionals to take a leadership role in working against discrimination towards Transgender and Gender Diverse individuals. In line with the best practices developed by the world’s leading medical and psychological associations, UHS supports transgender and gender nonbinary students’ access to gender affirming care, including but not limited to the initiation and continuation of gender affirming hormones and insurance coverage of surgeries and procedures for gender affirmation. 

We understand that navigating insurance coverage is challenging, and we want to support you as you navigate your health options. 

Learn more about:

UHS Services

The following UHS services are available to Princeton undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of insurance provider:

Medical Services

  • Free, inclusive primary and sexual and reproductive health care.
  • Consultation, informed consent, and medication management for gender affirming hormones.
  • Information, referrals, and guidance for gender affirming surgeries and other office procedures not available at UHS.
  • Pre-operative physical health assessments for gender affirming surgeries.
  • Letters for traveling with medications.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS)

  • Free, confidential, supportive, and gender affirming counseling for any issue, including experiences and questions related to gender identity.
  • Some medical providers, outside of UHS, request that you provide a letter from a mental health professional when accessing certain gender-affirming medical care. CPS can work with you to provide such letters.

Quest Laboratory

  • On-site laboratory for blood and urine tests. There may be a charge associated with these tests.

Student Health Plan (SHP) Office

Process for obtaining gender affirming hormone therapy (feminizing or masculinizing hormones)

Gender affirming hormones are essential primary care for many transgender and gender non-binary individuals. UHS utilizes an informed consent model1 to initiate and/or continue gender affirming hormones. 

Regarding insurance

If you are enrolled in the Student Health Plan, while not mandatory, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with the Student Health Plan office, to discuss insurance coverage and answer any questions you might have, by emailing shpo@princeton.edu or calling 609-258-3138. 

For students who are not enrolled in the Student Health Plan, we recommend you reach out to your insurer to gain a full understanding of the coverage available to you.

Appointments

Medical appointments can be scheduled with Valerie Lewis, M.D., MPH, or Maureen McSorley, APN, by calling the McCosh Health Center front desk at 609-258-3141 during normal business hours.

When you make your appointment over the phone, you do not have to disclose what your appointment is regarding if you are not comfortable doing so. It is ok to tell the client service representative that you are scheduling for “concerns.”

Initiating or starting hormones involves a minimum of two medical appointments:

  • An initial 30-minute consultation to review your medical history, discuss goals, expectations, and risks of hormones, and to discuss the process and appointment schedule.
  • A second 30-minute appointment where you and a clinician will review the informed consent, review instructions for taking hormones, prepare prescriptions for hormones, and do any necessary lab work.

The follow up visit schedule will be reviewed and discussed at your initial visit but a typical schedule is every 3 months for the first year after initiating hormones and then every 6-12 months after. You can expect to have bloodwork done at each follow up visit.

Prescriptions for hormones

Prescriptions for hormones are sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice. Most students who live on or close to campus use the CVS on Nassau Street.

  • If you are enrolled in the Student Health Plan, prescriptions for hormones are covered. Visit the SHP website to learn more about your prescription/medical benefits or to contact the SHP office for additional information.
  • If you are not enrolled in the Student Health Plan, you will need to contact your insurer/prescription benefits carrier to learn about your coverage.

Process for obtaining gender affirming surgeries and procedures

Aetna Student Health Plan (SHP) coverage/details

Covered Medical Expenses under the SHP include charges incurred by a covered person for medically-necessary surgery, mental health, prescription drugs, and other related services. All surgical procedures require consultation with a UHS medical provider and pre-certification. The SHP covers 90% of the negotiated or recognized charge for covered medical expenses related to gender affirmation after applicable deductibles are met.  

See the SHP Document (.docx) for information on eligibility, annual plan deductible precertification requirements, and out of pocket maximums.

UHS Trans Health Team

The UHS Trans Health Team is rooted in gender affirming models of care4 and espouses the following values: no gender identity or expression is disordered; gender is impacted by other identities and culturally informed; “gender involves an interweaving of biology, development and socialization, and culture and context, with all three bearing on any individual’s gender self” (p. 285); gender may be fluid across time as well as in a particular moment in an individual’s life; pathology is not caused by or associated with variations in gender identity and expression. The UHS Trans Health Team endorses the mission of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) and seeks to “promote evidence-based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy, and respect to transgender health” (2019).  

The UHS Trans Health Team aims to: increase access to continued education; improve service to transgender and gender diverse student and dependents; collect data about communities served and engage with other gender affirming health providers.    

These priorities allow the UHS Trans Health Team to act as an advising body of UHS, where the Team is prepared to act as a consulting body to UHS leadership with regards to any changes to access to care, services, promotion, and policy as it relates to transgender and gender diverse students and dependents. This may include, for example, informing and providing consultation on changes to insurance coverage and complex health care cases.    

The current UHS Trans Health Team includes representation from Health Promotion & Health Services (HPPS), Infirmary, Student Health Plan, Medical Services, Information Technology, Counseling & Psychological Services, and the SHARE office. 

Current Members: Bernadette Dougherty, Calvin R. Chin, Cassandra Stephenson, Jacqueline M. Deitch-Stackhouse, Janet E. Finnie, Janine D. Mascari, Jennifer K. Conover, Joseph F. Cooper, Judith E. Oakley, Kathy Wagner, Melanie D. Jeitner, Olivia McDonald-James, Rachel Kasdin, Rebecca J. Donn, Sonya A. Satinsky, Valerie J. Lewis 

Co-Chairs: Gavin Jones and Jim Scholl  

Gender Affirming Campus Resources 

In addition to the gender-affirming services available at UHS, Princeton University offers a a variety of resources for gender diverse students, staff, and faculty. To learn more about these resources, contact the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center by emailing gsrc@princeton.edu; or calling 609-258-1353. 

Highlighted resources: 

 COVID Communications 

Some of our current COVID Communications systems, which are contracted to an external company, do not allow for current name to replace legal name. We acknowledge the potential harm and distress to trans and other gender non-conforming individuals because of this systematic failure and apologize as it does not meet our standards for gender-affirming care at University Health Services. Within the next few weeks, we will be transitioning to an internal system that reflects current, not legal name for most of our COVID-related communications; however, all test results will still be reported with legal name, because of New Jersey Department of Health requirements, this should also allow your COVID testing documents to align with your legal documents like passport, license, etc. for the purposes of travel. If you would like to provide feedback, email the Trans Health Team Co-Chairs Gavin Jones or Jim Scholl. If you want to learn more about how the University can support you through the legal name change process, email the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center.

UHS Contacts

Video from Provider Panel (June 3, 2020)


1"Informed consent" means that UHS will provide you with the most up-to-date information about benefits and known risks associated with procedures or treatments and help you decide whether that procedure or treatment is right for you and your body. 
As an enrollee on the Student Health Plan, you have access to the Aetna Preferred Provider Network. To reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, select a Preferred Provider.  It may be to your advantage to use a Preferred Provider due to the Negotiated Charges these providers have agreed to accept as payment for their services.  
3 "CPT codes" stand for “Current Procedural Terminology” and are standard codes that any surgeon in the U.S. will be able to provide.
Hidalgo, M. A., Ehrensaft, D., Tishelman, A. C., Clark, L. F., Garofalo, R., Rosenthal,  S. M., Spack, N. P., Olson, J. (2013). The gender affirmative model: What we know and what we aim to learn. Human Development, 56, 285–290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/ 000355235