for clinicians

This page provides links to some of what I’ve written and edited that might be especially useful for clinicians. Clinicians interested in having me speak at their institutions should consult my page on speaking. (About half of my invited presentations are to medical professionals.)


Medical educational:

I highly recommend this open-access book I helped to produce for the AAMC: Implementing Curricular and Institutional Climate Changes to Improve Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSD: A Resource for Medical Educators.

You might also want to check out the JAMA Virtual Mentor piece I wrote with my MD-mate about our son's birth: "The Difference between Science and Technology in Birth."


On dealing with specific conditions:

If you’re wondering what I think about how particular conditions should be treated, please see my page on sex and gender or my page on conjoined twins. Lower down on this page you’ll find help for dealing with parents of children born with norm-challenging bodies.


On clinical practice more generally:

If I had to recommend to folks in the trenches of medicine just one thing I’ve written, it would be my book One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal. It’s a quick read (and I know, from being married to a med professional, you’re busy!) and it may just make you think twice about what really constitutes “necessary, safe, and effective.” It also challenges the idea that medicine is the logical arbiter of what counts as normal. Technically the book is about conjoined twins, but if you read it, you’ll see that the stories and messages go way beyond conjoinment, to conditions you deal with every day. (That’s why it was named book of the month by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.) For a one-page summary of the contents of One of Us, see my New York Times essay called When Medicine Goes Too Far in the Pursuit of Normality.

Frustrated as I am that medicine is not yet more evidence-based? Looking for horror stories about what happens when medicine isn't based on science? You might want to read Galileo's Middle Finger.

If you’re sick and tired of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription meds and need a laugh, take a look at The Secret Life of the Lunesta Butterfly, my spoof on DTC ads. For a manifesto calling for the medical profession to distance itself from cosmetic procedures, click here.


Help for medical professionals working with parents (and would-be parents):

The same info in the JAMA Virtual Mentor piece I wrote with my MD-mate about our son's birth, "The Difference between Science and Technology in Birth," is available in plain language at The Atlantic.

If you’re working with parents of pediatric patients with atypical body types, you might want to take a look at what I’ve written for these parents. Several clinicians have told me my article called What to Expect When You Have the Child You Weren’t Expecting should be printed up as a pamphlet and handed out at children’s hospitals. That article relates what I’ve learned from parents who have been through decision-making about whether to choose “normalizing” medical procedures for their children. (If you can’t get the book for whatever reason, contact me for a copy.)

Parents of children with differences/disorders of sex development (what used to be called “intersex”) may benefit from the wonderful handbook I was privileged to edit. I think it is a fantastic example of a handbook that can provide immediate peer support to real parents--I wish I could do one of these for every condition like disorders of sex development. I also recommend sharing the interview Cheryl Chase and I did with a grown woman and her mother; the daughter was born with a large clitoris, and her mother decided to let it be.

I’ve also written some advice to parents whose children who are said to have “gender identity disorder.” See the follow-up to that work at Pacific Standard.

Parents coping with miscarriages of and stillborn children with birth anomalies might find some solace in hearing one woman’s story in Products of Conception.