I am a KP member. I am a trans woman. I am a designer. How can I help?

2017.01.26 KP Lantern Presentation_
2017.01.26 KP Lantern Presentation_ (View on Flickr.com)

Yesterday was the coming out, as it could be called, for the KP Lantern project, which you can read more about in this blog. The photo above is from a presentation given to the Innovation Learning Network (@HealthcareILN) about KP Lantern.

The field work, designed to understand the health and life experience of people who are transgender, was performed last year as a quality improvement project, which has strict requirements around dissemination of findings. In addition, work like this typically would not include the members/patients/people being served, and usually not in an equal team-member type capacity. This doesn’t mean this is how it should be, it is how it is.

And now it is is changing, due to work like KP Lantern. In the slide above, Chris McCarthy (@McCarthyChris) described how he was approached by a design professional in San Francisco, gainfully employed herself, who offered to be a part of the team. The opportunity was accepted, and marked the first time in the Innovation Consultancy’s history that a member was hired to be a part of the team. The other first was that a community member, living in the trans community, was brought onto the sponsors group for the project. (see: Innovation often happens in out of the way places)

One of the things that our designer brought to us was this empathy exercise, which I am republishing below. Go through it for yourself or with others. It will help you understand more about gender and what you can do to make the world a more healthy place for all humans.

  1. What is your gender identity?
  2. How and when did you first know your gender identity?
  3. Is it possible that your gender identity is a phase that you will grow out of?
  4. Is it possible that your gender identity developed from psychological trauma, poor parenting, or media exposure?
  5. Are your family and community aware of your gender identity? How do they feel about it?
  6. How do you communicate your gender identity to other people? Has anyone ever been confused about it?
  7. Has anyone ever asked you to “tone down” your gender expression?
  8. How would you feel if you had a child who was transgender?
  9. Has anyone ever questioned your fitness to be a parent based on your gender identity?
  10. Have you ever been denied services because of your gender identity or expression?
  11. Have you ever considered surgery to “correct” a part of your body?
  12. How do you feel about the parts of your body, personality and circumstances that best confirm your gender identity? How do you feel about the parts that don’t?

As usual comments welcome, and the reminder that our generation of physicians came to health care to change everything, love always won, and life is great in the decade of the patient 🙂 .

Ted Eytan, MD