Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
118 - Prioritizing Expensive & Invasive Interventions: American Healthcare w/ Zhenya Abbruzzese

118 - Prioritizing Expensive & Invasive Interventions: American Healthcare w/ Zhenya Abbruzzese


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In this episode, Sasha and Stella sit down with Zhenya Abbruzzese, a healthcare researcher, analyst, and the author of several widely read peer-reviewed publications about pediatric gender medicine. Zhenya Abbruzzese papers include “The Myth of Reliable Research in Pediatric Gender Medicine,” “Reconsidering Informed Consent for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults,” and most recently, “Current Concerns About Gender-Affirming Therapy in Adolescents.” She works with several healthcare organizations, including the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), an international non-profit organization that aims to raise the bar of the quality of evidence in gender medicine, with a specific focus on children and young people. 

Previously, Zhenya led analytics efforts for a major insurer to identify low-value care and overuse of invasive and non-beneficial interventions. She also developed and led a venture-backed healthcare startup to help patients with medically-unexplained symptoms and health anxiety. 

A lifelong Democrat and supporter of progressive causes, Zhenya became alarmed when she saw the civil rights argument misused to justify the rapid proliferation and administration of highly invasive “gender-affirming” interventions to children and adolescents despite quality evidence supporting their use. 

During their conversation, Zhenya, Stella, and Sasha explore the origins of the Dutch Protocol and dive deep into Zhenya’s insights into pediatric gender medicine, as well as her experience working with insurance companies. Zhenya takes great care to point out that in addition to considering the cultural components impacting the current gender discourse, it’s necessary to explore the psychological piece as well. But in addition to that, the involvement of medical organizations like the APA and the American healthcare establishment as a whole all play key roles not only in what is happening in gender medicine but how it’s happening to such extremes.



Papers by Zhenya Abbruzzese

Methodological Bias (funny meme)

If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting:

The Dutch Studies Playlist - We have done a number of episodes about the "Dutch Protocol" which precipitated the surge in youth gender transition. There are many things about the Dutch research that have been misinterpreted and misapplied in various medical settings. Here are all the episodes we've done so far where we dig deeper into the studies that started it all.

Conversations about Medical Interventions & Gender - In these episodes, we discuss the history, evidence base, modern debates and emerging investigations around medical interventions for trans-identified children and adults.

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Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
Therapists Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad explore diverse perspectives through a psychological lens, fostering open dialogue on gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella. Their work with gender dysphoric clients and unique experiences yield an informed outlook delving into gender's psychological nuances. Interviews with clinicians, academics, transgender individuals, parents, detransitioners, and others touched by gender provide varied insights and intimate inquiry into the taboo yet relevant topic.