This March 31st, The Center for Transgender Health staff is participating in Transgender Day of Visibility. The annual event is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.
Fan Liang, M.D.
“Transgender people face discrimination every day. As an ally, I am proud to stand with the community to fight against ignorance and bigotry, to celebrate transgender people’s contribution to our society and to commit to providing gender-affirming care. March 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health’s launch. I am proud to be part of a team dedicated to caring for the community and creating a more inclusive, supportive and affirming health system.”
Romy Smith, Clinical Social Worker
“Transgender youths and adults are vulnerable to oppression and violence on the basis of their gender identity. As a nonbinary person and a social worker, it is important to me to be providing affirming care to my patients. I am excited to be joining the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health (JHCTH) in its fifth year of providing gender affirming care to the community. I am proud to stand with my community and work with my team to create a more affirmative, supportive and inclusive health care system.”
Kate Thomas, Ph.D.
“For over 30 years, I have been privileged to work with gender expansive persons, providing therapy and support. When Hopkins decided to re-start a comprehensive gender center, I jumped at the opportunity to assist. I have found the work consistently rewarding, and I believe we are all continually working toward better, more supportive and affirming care. There is an urgent need to advocate for laws, policies and ways to reduce stigma here in Maryland, federally and throughout the rest of the country.”
Ro Bowman, Specialty Nurse
“I worked for many years as an ER/trauma nurse, and I will never forget my first job. That hospital had a very harmful policy that patients had to be identified by their legal name, and I refused to deadname patients. Ultimately, I was able to get that policy to change, and I continued working as an ER nurse, moving cities every few years following my husband’s Marine Corps career.
Everywhere I went, I would keep my eye out for any trans patients coming into the ER, because I felt that if I could be the one to care for them it would hopefully be a less traumatic experience. I never expected to leave the bedside, but when an injury I sustained in the Marine Corps grew into a full-time physical disability, I was struggling to find a new path for myself, now confined to a body that could no longer do what I had trained to do. As a nurse, the drive to care for those who are hurt, sick, scared or sad surpasses time and reason. I knew I could not live with myself if I were to just stop being a nurse. I still had so much to give!
When I saw that there was an opening for a specialty nurse at JHCTH, I, metaphorically, jumped at the chance to apply. Now I get to spend every day helping folks get the services they need, and as a bonus, I occasionally get to interact with my sister! She has been and remains a dedicated ally, and a compassionate clinician. My fervent determination to make a difference for our patients enables me to advocate for them to insurance companies, but also to stand with them through the storm. Sometimes, the first path we take for insurance authorization doesn’t pan out. I know that can be devastating! I try to gently explain what happened, while searching for the next path, all without letting them give up hope.
It is such a gift to me that my warrior heart can fight for our patients every day, even if all I can lift is a phone. I do my best to make their dark days a little brighter, to help shape the future they deserve, and occasionally I have the privilege to bask with them in the sunshine of success.”
Helene Hedian, M.D.
“In my first year of practice as a primary care provider, I began caring for my first transgender patient.
This person was gracious enough to acknowledge that although I didn’t have much background knowledge at the time, I was willing to learn. I hoped that by expanding my knowledge I could ultimately be a trusted provider.
My first patient opened a door for me to expand my knowledge into an entire sphere of healthcare. As I learned more about transgender care, I began to work on expanding educational opportunities for trainees at Hopkins and across Maryland. I love sharing the knowledge that I have gained from my own study and from clinical experience.
Since that patient encounter, transgender medicine has become an important part of my primary care practice. I have cared for almost 200 transgender people. In the process, I have heard inspiring stories of strength and resilience from my patients. My patients have taught me about the multifaceted nature of identity – each aspect of our identity contributes to our experience of the world and to how we are treated by the world. They have taught me not to make assumptions – as none of us can be summed up by what we seem to be on paper. Ultimately, they have taught me the role of listening and of humility.
When I started building expertise in transgender medicine, I did not have any transgender family members or close friends. But over time, several people in my personal network have come out as transgender or nonbinary. It brings me joy that my career choice has helped me cultivate skills with which to support the people I love. And recently my sister joined the Center for Transgender Health as the clinical specialty nurse. I’m incredibly proud of her, and grateful to be doing this important work alongside her.
So, on behalf of Ro and myself:
Welcome to the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health. How can we help?”
Raina Crawford, CRNP
“I love being part of the primary care team at JHCTH. My younger sibling has type 1 diabetes and is transgender. I saw through her experience how navigating the medical system could be tricky for marginalized members of the community and was determined to increase access to quality primary health care. I find inspiration in patients for whom I provide care and continue to work toward making access for gender-affirming care accessible for all individuals.”
Jill Crank, CRNP
“I work with the CTH because I believe gender diverse people deserve to receive affirming primary care in a safe space. I witness the struggles my patients endure as they navigate the world in their bodies, and I want to be part of the force that says, ‘You are welcome here.’ Today I celebrate the beauty and strength of every gender diverse person I know as we strive for less discrimination and more inclusion.”
Stephen Martin, M.D.
“The primary mission of The Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health is to reduce healthcare disparities and improve the overall health of the transgender community through excellent, holistic, and evidence-based affirming clinical care. Since 2018 I have partnered with the Center for Transgender Health to help provide equitable care to a population which has historically faced many inequities. It has been a professionally and personally rewarding experience to make a difference in the lives of so many patients. As a gynecologist I have worked to create safe and welcoming spaces while providing complete medical, obstetrical and surgical care. I look forward to continuing work with the JHCTH as we overcome the barriers faced by gender diverse individuals.”
Page Burns, PA-C
“I joined CTH team because I wanted to work with a patient population full of kind, genuine individuals who are driven to stay true to themselves. I want to be a constant for my patients as we navigate the ups and downs of their metamorphosis. I strive for clear, concise communication and in doing so hope to create a positive, inclusive environment for both my patients and my colleagues.”