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Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know

Meet Shane Henise

Helping patient families navigate a new world with their youth

Shane HeniseBeing a Children’s National Hospital patient navigator that works with trans and gender diverse youth is personal for Shane Henise. As a trans man who has always been passionate about working with his community, he's well-aware of the challenges he and countless others have faced while seeking gender affirming care. Shane's drive to support and improve the well-being of his community led him to his current role, where he is thrilled to be part of a team which offers affirming and multidisciplinary gender-related care to today's youth and their families.

Parents often call Shane saying, “My child just told me they’re trans, and I don’t know what to do.” In his position as patient navigator, Shane helps these patient families navigate their new world and connect them with relevant Children’s National services. “One of the most rewarding aspects of working with trans youth is being a source of support to let them know that they are not alone and that they can be whoever they want to be,” says Shane. “Providing gender affirming care for trans youth is literally lifesaving. Trans youth are disproportionately at risk for attempting suicide than their cisgender (non-trans) peers. Having people that see and affirm them greatly lowers that risk and provides them with hope and security.”

The patient navigator role for Gender Services at Children’s National was created in 2020. As a patient navigator, Shane works across multiple departments including the Youth Pride Clinic in Adolescent Medicine, the Gender Development Program, the Gender and Autism Program, Endocrinology and Pediatric Gynecology. He also serves as a coordinator for the new Children’s National Multidisciplinary Gender Clinic, which enables patients to have all of their gender needs met through Children’s National.

Shane is also involved in research at Children’s National surrounding the experiences of trans youth. “I was very excited to work at Children’s National because it is one of the leading programs in Gender Care for youth/adolescents in the country,” says Shane. “The Gender Care Services team is doing groundbreaking work, and it is truly incredible to have support for our youth across so many different departments. It makes a huge difference to have a team working to support someone’s transition and identity.”

Throughout his life, Shane has served as an advocate for the transgender community, whether that was through media campaigns or on an individual level such as patient care. He was featured in a documentary about transgender youth produced by Laverne Cox, which aired on MTV. He also was one of the first trans men featured in a national ad campaign as part of his modeling work for Kenneth Cole. In addition, he worked at GLAAD as their Transgender Media Coordinator producing campaigns that changed the narrative about trans people in the media.

“I’ve always known I wanted do work that helps people and makes life better for the trans community,” says Shane. “After working in broader contexts like media, I decided I want to do work that was individually impactful. Being a counselor and now a patient navigator affords me that opportunity.” 

Shane is no stranger to the world of health care. His proudest accomplishment is his education at Columbia University, where he received dual degrees in Mental Health and Psychological Counseling. This led him to the world of counseling and sparked his passion for more individual work. He has been grateful to continue work in this context at Children's National.

This employee spotlight is part of Children’s National’s recognition and support of its LGBTQ employees and patients during Pride Month.