March 31 marks International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), an annual observance that celebrates transgender people and their contributions to society, while also raising awareness about discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. In this time of recognition, KPSOM is highlighting events, special storytelling, and a curriculum that focuses on the accomplishments of those within the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles they still face.
To acknowledge International TDOV, MedPride will host a screening of the documentary Disclosure on March 31 at 7 p.m. at the school’s fourth-floor outdoor theater. The film focuses on transgender depictions in film and television and highlights how mass media influences anxieties and biases about the transgender experience. The event will include a discussion facilitated by second-year students Nghiem Nguyen and Mac Thurston, as well as Vivienne Hau, MD, PhD, and Alison Taur, MD, who are both Assistant Professors of Clinical Science. (MedPride is a KPSOM student affinity group committed to empowering sexual and gender minority medical students and allies; increasing the number of physicians trained in LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare; and addressing the unique needs of queer communities through research, advocacy, education, and service.)
In further sharing the experiences of persons within the LGBTQ+ community, Dr. Hau, who identifies as transgender or gender non-binary (TGNB), is featured in the March 2022 issue of Retina Today , where she details her apprehension in meeting with colleagues for the first time after her transition. The piece speaks to the importance of acceptance and gives several best practices clinical leaders and staff can use to facilitate a more inclusive environment.
In furthering the school’s pledge to provide students a world-class medical education, KPSOM continues to provide a forward-thinking approach to inclusive curricular activities. As part of the second-year core coursework, KPSOM conducted “Intersex and Gender Diversity,” a half-day curricular session focused on providing evidence-informed, affirming, and culturally sensitive care to intersex and gender diverse patients on January 31, 2022. The session was led by Abbas Hyderi, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Professor of Clinical Science, in collaboration with several faculty members including Jennifer Loh, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Science; Ly Pham, MD, Instructor of Clinical Science; and Dr. Taur, with input from KPSOM second-year students Bennett Gosiker and Nguyen.
The curricular session also included a panel of Kaiser Permanente (KP) physicians who are also involved in various aspects of TGNB care delivery and a KP patient. The panelists highlighted Phase 3 (encompassing years 3 and 4 of the curriculum), which includes a four-week elective on LGBTQ+ care, with an emphasis on TGNB care. The elective is directed by Dr. Pham who identifies as non-binary. “In the future, if we have enough clinical capacity, we may have both the four-week LGBTQ+ elective and an elective specifically dedicated to TGNB care,” said Dr. Hyderi.
Dr. Taur, who is also on KPSOM’s Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (EID) Advisory Committee, passionately advocates for intersex and TGNB communities which she said often do not receive the spotlight. When presented with the opportunity to build LGBTQ+ care into the curriculum, Dr. Taur leaped at the chance to help create a first-of-its-kind curriculum. In tandem with KPSOM community partners, faculty, and students, Dr. Taur and Nguyen further contributed to a Phase 2 service-learning course focused on TGNB health through the lens of the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s Transgender Health Program. The session explored how to provide care for the TGNB community with limited resources, honor their lived experiences, and maximize community assets. It also delved into how to support the TGNB community in navigating the complexity of health systems and resources with respect to social, interpersonal, and upstream environmental factors.
“What a privilege to be in this community, KPSOM, where I'm with like-minded folks who are truly committed to lifting up marginalized communities and where social justice and health equity matter,” said Dr. Taur. “I think this has been the richest part of my career … being part of this community. This is a loving community and I feel loved. And when we know we're loved there's nothing we can't do.”
While The White House and others around the world celebrate International TDOV and the achievements of many within the LGBTQ+ community during a period when much anti-transgender legislation is being considered across the nation, KPSOM continues to demonstrate its commitment to EID in a variety of areas that benefit the entire school community and society at large. For more information on KPSOM’s EID initiatives, visit the school’s website.