School of Social Work

No. 28 M.S.W. Program in the U.S.

When you’re transgender, finding a doctor who understands your specific needs can be a challenge, so now the VCU School of Medicine is taking a new step to help.

Rob Phillips’ Chesterfield consignment store continues to grow, and now along with professional success he can finally celebrate who he is personally too.

“It’s awesome. I feel more at peace,” says Phillips, explaining that he began transitioning from female to male three years ago after decades of feeling different.

Weeks after starting testosterone, the now 43-year-old suffered a stroke, ended up in the hospital and faced the unimaginable.

“I felt like I was on exhibit of some sort while I was there,” Phillips recalls his first hospital stay as a trans male. “They actually started funneling a lot of people in. I felt like a freak show almost.”

“Health care and the transgender population have not been friends, and there are a lot of horror stories,” says VCU professor and School of Social Work alumna, Tarynn M. Witten, Ph.D. (M.S.W.’03/SW).

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