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Park Nicollet physician receives OutFront Minnesota Equity Innovator Award

Deb Thorp, MD, is Director of the Park Nicollet Gender Services Clinic


November 20, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Deb Thorp, an OB/GYN physician and Medical Director of the Park Nicollet Gender Services Clinic, is the recipient of the 2018 OutFront Equity Innovator Award. The award is given to a person, group or organization that has helped advance equity in unique ways.

Dr. Thorp was a pioneer in starting the Gender Services clinic at Park Nicollet 25 years ago. Her focus was and is providing culturally appropriate care and reducing health disparities for transgender patients.

“The history in the community at large is of people not being accepted for who they are. So patients are very concerned about going in to see a clinician, because why should the clinicians be any different than anyone else?” said Dr. Thorp.

Today the Gender Services clinic serves more than 500 patients a year and includes two more physicians. In addition to her work at the clinic, Dr. Thorp has been helping HealthPartners (Park Nicollet is part of the organization) implement system-side changes to improve care for LGBTQ and transgender patients.

Some of the ways she has helped transform care include:

  • Advocating for appropriate gender identity and pronouns in patient electronic health records.
  • Advising HealthPartners member services on how to improve coverage and service for transgender members who were going through the gender confirmation experience.
  • Ensuring that patients have access to culturally competent primary care providers, where they can get care at a lower cost.
  • Helping create a new care navigator position at Park Nicollet. This position provides patients with support for the social, legal, and emotional needs they have beyond the medical and surgical care of gender affirmation.

In addition to advancing LGBTQ health, about 20 percent of Dr. Thorp’s patients are Somali women. Part of her work includes caring for patients who have experienced female genital mutilation.

Dr. Thorp will receive the Equity Innovator Award at OutFront’s annual gala on Nov. 17 at the Minneapolis Event Center.

Read more about Dr. Thorp’s work:

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is a consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

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