Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cecilia Chung, transgender health advocate



Transgender patients seeking medical care face discrimination even in liberal, cutting-edge San Francisco.  But this being liberal, cutting-edge San Francisco, they also have a champion: Cecilia Chung, a transgender woman serving on the Health Commission.
Appointed to the commission overseeing the Department of Public Health by Mayor Ed Lee in April, Chung made news by pushing the department to pay for gender reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender patients - making San Francisco the first city in the country to do so.
Now, she's developed and is leading sessions for staff members throughout the department called Transgender 101, designed to help everybody - from doctors to nurses to receptionists to janitors - create a respectful atmosphere for transgender patients, increase sensitivity, and understand policies and laws related to medical care for transgender patients.
"We want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to cultural competency," said Chung, 47, an Excelsior resident who works internationally as a health care consultant and advocate. "This is really walking the walk in terms of cultural competency and inclusion and making sure all of our community feels safe."
Eventually, it will lead to more advanced courses for specialists that she's developing called, you guessed it, Transgender 102 and Transgender 103.
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