This is Denise Lascar. She manages Ruff Plastic Surgery, in Washington, DC. I went to see her and Paul Ruff, MD, FACS, and their staff, at their office this week to learn about innovation in medicine, which is not a new procedure or a device, it’s inclusion.
You can see that Denise is holding up a print ad that the practice placed in a high-end luxury magazine in Washington, DC. She’s been working in the practice for about 3 months, bringing a passion for the health of people who are transgender, to create place where they can access non-judgemental and compassionate surgical care. She told me she made sure the ad was printed without any editing on the part of the magazine. One of the practice’s patients agreed to be in the ad as well.
When I asked Denise “why” she wants this population to succeed, she told me that she has two gay sons, and still has experiences where her children are not accepted for who they are. She told me that her generation (baby boomers) came from a place where they wanted to change the world, and yet today she sees fixed minds.
I spoke with Paul Ruff, MD briefly as well, and asked him about his experience caring for this population. In a profession and society that generally prefers to keep this group of people invisible, he told me that he appreciates how stable and grounded his patients become once they receive the medically necessary surgical procedures that accompany their transitions. He said to me, “I was surprised at how ‘not-wierd’ they are.” This is consistent from what I hear from other clinicians – that this population is enjoyable to work with, are grateful for excellent health care, and show profound improvements in function and health from the care they receive – when they receive it.
As I have written previously a lot of the “wierdness” that comes with being a person who is trans is manufactured by the very profession that’s supposed to heal them. We’re changing that now, together (see: Now Reading: Care of Transsexual Persons — NEJM, in the era of inclusion | Ted Eytan, MD).
Paul told me he’s not experienced stigma from providing this care, and reminded me that much of innovation in medicine has come from his specialty. Agreed, and it’s clearly happening here.
On the journey to promote the medicine of inclusion, allies need allies, and of course Washington, DC, is one of the best places to find them, because the people who live here believe everything is possible, because it is :).
More photos of the practice and Paul below. Enjoy. Comments welcome.