Welcome to the latest feature in our Life at LetsGetChecked series where we’re offering insight into the technology, data, and science behind LetsGetChecked by speaking to those that work alongside it each day.
In the second of a two-part series, we spoke with Dina Greene, Associate Laboratory Director for LetsGetChecked. Dr. Greene’s current academic focus is on social determinants of health related to gender diversity. She spoke with us about the difference between LetsGetChecked and other health companies plus how the LetsGetChecked healthcare solution can tackle the issue of access to healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community.
What is the most exciting aspect of working with LetsGetChecked?
It’s definitely been my favorite job so far! Digital health is a field that is exponentially increasing as we speak - it moves at the speed of my brain! Oftentimes, I would find myself in organizations dragged down by the system because the system had been created 75+ years ago. With a new company like LetsGetChecked, it gives me the opportunity to really run with ideas in a way that is almost recreating the system to improve it.
I also love that, because we’re a small team, everyone has to be so good at their job. I’m not just working with a bunch of people who have the exact same training as me. I can really see my value so much more than I can when there are four other Ph.D. clinical chemists around.
If you’re not of a certain demographic, in a lot of larger organizations, people don’t understand how to support the growth of people who don’t look or think like them. I think at LetsGetChecked, the ways that you don’t look or think like the people that you work with are your most valuable assets because, without a diverse way of solving these problems, we’re never going to disrupt the system.
You mention disrupting the system and really, recreating it. In your opinion, how does home health testing help remove barriers and tackle the issue of healthcare access?
There are so many groups that can really benefit from what we offer. A great example, and one of my favorite examples, is the LGBTQ+ community. I’m very well known in the industry for focusing on LGBTQ+ communities and marginalized communities - I identify as a member of that community as well. It’s often very difficult for members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe getting STI testing and our services really offer a shame-free environment for people to get the STI checks they deserve in order to improve public health.
We know STIs are very much rising but as a society, we are not yet prepared to speak with people about their sexual health and their sexual behaviors. Ideally, at some point, we will be able to do that but right now, the service that LetsGetChecked offers is huge for being able to improve community health - particularly for those that identify as LGBTQ+.
That brings us really nicely into some of your academic focus on the social determinants of health related to gender diversity, can you tell us more about that?
Yeah! So, gender diversity speaks to the T and Q of LGBTQ+. This has been my primary academic focus. I’ve had about 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts over the last several years that are related to how sex and gender influence the clinical laboratory.
What my work in gender diversity has shown is, yes, there are some physiological differences that we have to pay attention to, like how hematology measurements such hemoglobin and hematocrit will change after initiating gender-affirming hormones. But, by and large, as a society, we must respect and recognize that transgender people exist - until we can understand that this is an identity that we work into our sociology and human experiences, we aren’t going to be able to provide equitable care.
Offering gender-diverse people a platform where they feel safe to interact with a healthcare provider is huge and it’s something LetsGetChecked can contribute to. So for us, having this model where we are already approaching it in a way that is respectful gives us the ability to provide care for everyone and acts as a model for other institutions to do similarly.
Read the first part of our interview with Dr. Greene here