Transgender Health: Patients and Providers
The main reason I started Featured Voices 18 months ago was to feature other perspectives on this blog. So far, so good: we’ve had over 50 posts from guest authors!
The other reason I started Featured Voices was to outsource the writing to others, so that I could focus on my other projects without abandoning the blog. However, as you can tell, even with this brilliant strategy, lately blog activity has suffered. So, I’ve decided to take my brilliance to the next level by inviting guest collaborators to take over an entire FV themed series!
This brings us to Charlie.
Charlie and I met over Twitter.
I responded to a question they shared about trans research, we had a back and forth, and before long Charlie was in San Francisco trying to meet up with me at the other Blue Bottle Coffee. After I finally located Charlie, we scurried off to a sunny rooftop garden with my new pup Jasper, where we sipped our espressos and I denied having any feelings over breakfast, while Charlie patiently listened to my long list of aspirational to-do’s involving trans health.
Meanwhile, we were both scheming on how we could collaborate and maybe check something off our lists. This brings us to the latest series: Trans Health Patients and Providers Edition.
Before I introduce the new series, let me introduce you to Charlie.
Much of Charlie’s life, both personal and professional, has been based in health advocacy. After surgery to remove a brain tumor and going off to college without knowing whether they would survive until graduation, Charlie turned into a fierce patient advocate for the brain tumor and chronic illness communities. They slowly became embedded in a number of medical communities by speaking at and joining the advisory board of Stanford Medicine X, and being an authority voice on chronic illness at the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California.
After finding their way into an inner sanctum of prominent health leadership voices, they realized that these were people who would also benefit from learning more about transgender health. This prompted them to start talking about trans health more instead of separating these two parts of their life, and they now share their perspective as a trans patient when speaking with providers in an attempt to counteract the lack of education that so many are faced with after graduation from their respective programs.
This summer Charlie will be moving to Seattle to start their MSW and study medical social work. When they’re not busy with school, you can find them holed up in a coffee shop writing or researching something to do with trans health or brain tumors. Odds are they’ve tweeted about a related article or study as well.
Trans Health Advocacy (and sharing photos of cute pups on Instagram) has been Charlie’s way of making meaning out of the messiness we call life.
Now, back to this blog.
Trans Health: Patients and Providers
When you want more health care providers and researchers to be knowledgeable about transgender health, you invite those who are already knowledgeable and those who want to learn more to have conversations and share their perspectives. You highlight the work that they’re doing in hospitals, clinics, and communities around the world. Then, you ask them to teach their provider peers to do the same.
When you’re worried that trans patients are going to stop trusting providers, you do your best to remind trans people that there are indeed health care providers and researchers that the trans community can and should still trust for competent care and information. You show trans patients the work that providers and researchers are doing, and you ask them to interact with those in health care – to ask questions, and to tell them what matters to you most as a patient who also happens to be trans.
At least, that’s what we’re doing.
The upcoming series will feature an assortment of medical providers from psychology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, social work, nursing, endocrinology, and research, whose varying expertise and perspectives will push us to consider legislature and standards of care around the world.
With only a median reported time of 5 hours dedicated to teaching LGBT-related content over the course of the entire curriculum, and a third of programs reportedly spending zero hours on LGBT health-related content during clinical training, both patients and providers benefit from the extra education and interaction. We want the community to push providers beyond the boundaries of their current education for the better.
We sincerely hope that you –our readers– will engage in the comments.
This series relies on your voices to participate. You are welcome to suggest special topics, ask a burning question, or introduce us to health professionals who would make engaging guest authors. If you’re a provider and wish to contribute, let us know!
This project is a learning opportunity for our writers and readers to engage with the series. We hope that you’ll join us in the process.