One of my favorite things about working at a tech startup is I get to do a lot of different projects — projects that directly support social workers like me. My primary job is managing Healthify's resource database. I make sure we offer a rich and diverse amount of community service data for underserved populations whose needs, in all my years of social work, are often the most overlooked by traditional providers of resource information.
Having focused my social work career on marginalized and underserved populations, I am committed to making sure Healthify's resources meet the needs of the underserved. Finding resources for the underserved is hard work. But having a database of resources is useless if it's poorly organized and that is why Healthify's resource taxonomy has to be excellent.
Healthify's resource search platform is organized into a comprehensive and intelligible taxonomy of services. We organize resources through a few different categories such as food, health, work, and legal services. Within these umbrella categories, we offer over 200 different service tags. We also tag resources based on patient identity such as race, gender, income, and age to help identify resource eligibility requirements. Just like our resources, we want to make sure our taxonomy is also rich, robust, and diverse.
Fortunately, my work in underserved populations in New York City has given me an excellent depth of knowledge on identities and experiences to categorize in our database. When I started at Healthify, my first few weeks were spent renovating our taxonomy, bringing our terminology up to date, accounting for missing identity groups, and making the services more specific so users can more easily access information. As you may know I have a long background in the QTBLG community and so one of my first changes was to update our eligibility and resource programs to reflect this diverse set of identities. A few examples are our eligibility categories for this community include QTBLG youth, QTBLG elders, transgender and gender non-conforming persons, and intersex individuals. A few examples of our resource tags are QTBLG medical care, transgender healthcare, and gender marker changes.
In order to best make our taxonomy culturally sensitive, I regularly reach out to my network of fellow social workers, activists, and members of the community to get their opinions on what the best term is and how we can make it recognizable for a national user base. We have found that getting the community involved in naming their own services and people groups not only gives us the best information but is the best way to have an empowering taxonomy for the patients served by our users.
Today I am very excited to announce our most recent development in our taxonomy. We have reworked our patient profile platform to include gender options that reflect much more than the typical conception of a female-male binary model. Patients can identify themselves under a few different gender umbrellas as well as inform us if we are missing a term they prefer.
Transgender and gender non-conforming people face numerous forms of discrimination and prejudice. One of the biggest problems is simply accounting for this community and recognizing our identity when appropriate. If you are curious to learn more about transgender and gender non-conforming human rights, you can check out a couple of the following resources: