Aamilah Chowdhury | CIIP 2023 Blog Portfolio

Week 1

I’ve learned so much this week, and I’ve come to realize how under-represented the impact area of LBGT health and inequity is. For one, the history to LGBTQ history is minimally discussed in high school curriculums (if even discussed). It’s minimally discussed at the institutional level. My week is characterized by rabbit-hole google searches to acquaint myself with A) services offered at Chase Brexton and other clinics that interface with the clinic (for referrals), and B) lingo. Lingo, lingo, lingo. I realized that it’s important I reflect back the language a patient uses with me when I interact with the elderly patients. For instance, gender queer is not the same as fluid queer to an individual, and it’s important that I show that I see a patient how they see themselves. I realized during staff meeting when systems issues were brought up that numerous patients come into the clinic with the hope and optimism that they can come in and feel 100% accepted and receive the care they have been missing or too scared to reach out for for a long a time. Yet, after coming in, many patients have had doctors misgender them at the clinic. This can be incredibly demoralizing to patients who haven’t sought out care or are hesitant to. It made me upset to hear, especially with the most recent case being with a child. Overall, a lot of research (due to work being asynchronous because of HR processing delays), and working from home for a clinic isn’t ideal but I’ve grown comfortable with the idea that I won’t know everything when interacting with patients. Though this is the case, I should be a source a comfort and there to listen to concerns, related to healthcare or beyond.

Week 3

My work day starts at 8:30 AM and oftentimes I start tasks that were assigned the previous evening, and it can literally be anything. It can be calling patients to connect them with resources in the city or in their neighborhoods. It can include accumulating suicide prevention resources for trans youth. Often times, I go through tasks quickly and wait until Kate or Sam are out of their meetings to debrief! The clinic is a lot more corporate than I anticipated. It very much feels like a hospital because of its numerous floors and numerous departments. Some patients have been interesting, and some have been difficult to talk to (for various reason I won’t share). I was afraid I would be overwhelmed with tasks, but Kate and Sam are mindful of my limitations. There are so many nice office spaces and couch areas in the clinic to go eat or work when I do not have a pertinent task.

Week 5

This week was by far my busiest. I like to be busy, so by no means did I mind. It had also been the most rewarding week of this internship thus far. For one, we took a field trip to the Waxter Center for our program called Community Connections. I got to know patients as we discussed, as a collective, the importance of nutrition especially as we age. The content based on nutrition was known to me and most of the community members, so I think patients and community members mostly showed up to get to know each other and to interact with peers. The following day, I had plenty of phone calls to make. I checked in with a patient regarding their daily sessions for treating their depression. I reached out to multiple patients to get them set up with new PCP appointments. The most meaningful patient-interaction I had was today: a patient came in incredibly anxious about the process of legal name change (which at first glance is incredibly, incredibly overwhelming and intimidating). My supervisor and I assuaged their worries and laid out the steps. The patient walked out feeling so much better and reassured about the process.

Week 7

I see intersectionality showing up every day at the clinic. For one, it baffles both me and my supervisor that some many varying identities can stuffed under the “LGBTQ” umbrella and how people outside the community assume numerous shared experiences amongst those in the community. People outside the community would not be necessarily wrong, there are a lot of shared experiences, but I feel like most people think each and every person in the LGTBQ community has faced the same hindrances. This is not true at all. I see patients coming in who have had to face both racial-slurs and gender-based slurs. I have had an elderly, gay patient recount how he passed an apparently gay, younger couple on the street, smiled at them, and then heard them scoff, “There are so many old f*** around.” Being in the Gender Equity center at Chase-Brexton and working under the adult trans care navigator, I often work with elderly patients, and I see how their experiences are so vastly different from one another and from people currently in the LGBTQ community.