Meet the Community

Ivan Hsiao

I am changing the healthcare system so that the transgender and gender diverse population can receive dignified, life-saving healthcare both related and unrelated to this identity, but always delivered in alignment with it.

For the 1.6M transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals in the US, obtaining medically necessary healthcare can be a matter of life and death, but 3 in 4 doctors in the US are currently unequipped to provide gender-affirming care. 1 in 3 TGD patients do not go to the doctor’s office even if they need medical support, citing previous poor experiences as the reason, and 50% of TGD patients had to teach their providers about gender-affirming care they needed. This directly contributes to the significant health disparities in the TGD population vs. our cisgender counterparts.

Ivan Hsiao is a mid-career MPH candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Health & Social Behavior Track, and Women, Gender and Health concentration. Ivan is keen on resolving health inequities faced by the TGD community, and enabling access to the competent healthcare their community deserves. To date, they have spent over 600 hours navigating their own gender-affirming care in the US, many of which were put towards educating providers on transition care guidelines and evidence-based best practices. Having experienced firsthand the high stakes of pursuing gender-affirming medical, behavioral, and surgical interventions, Ivan recognizes that their success in receiving care was largely due to privileged circumstances that do not reflect the reality of the 1.6M TGD people in the US, such as the ability to engage in peer-to-peer conversations with doctors given what they did for a living, receiving the higher education to keep up with the latest clinical literature, and having sufficient income and paid time off to afford and travel to private clinics and TGD health conferences to seek the best care. They have supported other trans folks through their transitions and have witnessed structural challenges their community faces in accessing care, but every trans person Ivan knows can speak to a provider who lacked the knowledge to care for them.

Given these experiences, Ivan would like to decrease the amount of self-advocacy, education, and coordination required to obtain this life-saving are for the next generation, and address three key problems in this field: (1) the lack of clarity around what TGD patient-centered care looks like, (2) the limited volume and variable quality of gender-affirming providers in the US, and (3) the untapped collective privilege of clinicians that can transform a cisnormative and racist healthcare system into a more inclusive one. Ivan is the Founder of Trans Health HQ. For all clinicians interested in improving their care for the transgender population, Trans Health HQ is an one-stop shop of clinical, legal, and resources that saves lives by addressing clinicians’ barriers around learning and advocacy for the TGD population. Trans Health HQ is incubated at Harvard Kennedy School’s Social Impact + Change Initiative, as well as the H2A Healthlab Accelerator, and is a semi-finalist in the President’s Innovation Challenge in the Social Impact track. 

Ivan is also a researcher in Harvard T.H. Chan’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, working with Dr. Sabra Katz-Wise to conduct research on the sexual and gender fluidity of transgender and nonbinary youth, and a member of the Harvard SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Health Equity Research Collaborative. Prior to Harvard Chan, Ivan spent 7 years in strategy management consulting in life sciences and healthcare as a Senior Manager at IQVIA and Blue Matter Consulting, DEI corporate strategy as the Global Head of DEI and Lead of the LGBT+ and Women & Gender Minorities Employee Resource Groups at Blue Matter, and VC-backed entrepreneurship as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Initiate Studios. Trading oncology clinical trials and rare disease drug launches for gender health equity, Ivan’s pivot into social entrepreneurship combines the analytical rigor of consulting, the mission-driven nature of public health work, and the creativity of the venture world. Ivan brings with them the ability to build community and mobilize private sector resources to collective work towards a more inclusive world.

Outside of work, Ivan volunteers for health initiatives at the SF LGBT Center. Ivan is also a triathlete that most recently represented Taiwan at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France, and a food and lifestyle photographer. As a Cheng Fellow, Ivan’s goal is to make the healthcare system more inclusive for the TGD community: Ivan imagines a world where the broader healthcare community adopts best practices and shows high cultural and clinical competency in caring for TGD patients, and that there are abundant affirming providers who offer timely, respectful, and relevant care that enables TGD people live healthy, self-determined lives.