Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Jen Ching, the commercial director of LVNDR Health. Let’s learn what’s happening at LVNDR Health and how Jen is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Jen! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through LVNDR Health?
Jen: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy, no matter who they love or how they identify. But sometimes, people who are in the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer) community struggle and face issues in accessing health care that others do not. They may be afraid to go to the doctor because they are worried they will be judged, treated differently, and.just not receive good care. Because of this, they may avoid seeking help when they need it, which can lead to more issues over time. Sadly, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety as well as lifelong illnesses like HIV/AIDS. At LVNDR, our mission is for every LGBTQ+ individual to be able to access the care they need to live full and happy lives.
Spiffy: That is awesome! What motivates you to do it?
Jen: I grew up queer in Australia with Malaysian parents, and have lived in South America, Africa, and now England. Over the years, there have been some big changes in how some parts of the world accept LGBTQ+ individuals and their rights. But I have also been in parts of the world where these rights are not advancing at all, and are even moving backwards. The very sad fact is that there is so much to do in terms of LGBTQ+ equality in health and beyond. But it really doesn't need to be this way. I see wonderful LGBTQ+ role models all around us—doctors, musicians, artists. I am motivated to make sure our community is celebrated, and each individual can feel loved and empowered for being exactly the way they are.
Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?
Jen: LGBTQ+ folks have had to work within health systems not made for them. LVNDR is built by and for the LGBTQ+ community. Our biggest priority is to deliver care that is accessible, non-judgmental, and ultimately inclusive to every single LGBTQ+ individual. We want folks to safely seek care and be their honest selves. After meeting our patients, we realize every detail matters—including the language we use, the questions we ask, and ensuring they speak to a doctor with shared experiences. These all contribute to a more comfortable experience where LGBTQ+ individuals feel like they can take control of their health.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Jen: We recently finished developing a pilot to deliver preventative HIV medication to LGBTQ+ patients. HIV can be a fatal virus that attacks the immune system. This medication can reduce the chances of getting HIV by almost 100%. While this medication is available freely via the Public Health system, there are a lot of delays and challenges with getting it. Sometimes, people wait up to 3 months. Our program allowed us to see patients completely remotely so they could receive their medication in as little as six days. We received amazing feedback from patients—multiple people said it was a life-changing service. This was the ultimate validation we needed to keep growing so our service can reach more people.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jen—it’s been an honor!
Jen is an Australian living in England who has spent her entire career working on reducing social inequities, including in education, poverty reduction, and now LGBTQ+ health. She works at LVNDR Health, which is Europe's first LGBTQ+ health clinic. (First published on the Ladderworks website on August 16, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.