Flip for Destiny Interview

Osmosis Team
Published on Sep 30, 2020. Updated on Sep 30, 2020.

One of our values at Osmosis is to reach further. On today’s blog, we interview a group from Taiwan called Flip for Destiny, who embodies this value and makes a difference for underrepresented people with rare diseases! This student group consists of Tina Yuan (袁筱婷), Alice Shih (施沂瑄),, and Joanne Tsai (蔡昀儒), and we’re pleased to spotlight their efforts on the blog today.

How did Flip for Destiny get started? How did you all meet? 

Our team is united by our passion for working together and contributing to our society! Our love for change led us to participate in the program called “Young 飛," under the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. This program asks people to organize teams and choose one topic all members are interested in. Young 飛 then decides on which finalists they will support and mentor. 

At first, there were only two people on our team. Tina’s sister has a cleft lip and cleft palate, so this inspired us to focus on rare disease advocacy.  Our goal is to engage and educate people to help them understand that anyone can be born with or contract a rare disease, which can have major consequences for our everyday life. 

After our two founding members shared our ideas online, we gained our third teammate—and that’s how Flip for Destiny was born!

Can you talk a little about the healthcare system in Taiwan and how it accommodates people with rare diseases? 

The current healthcare system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance, was instituted in 1995. The system promises equal access to healthcare for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004. 

Even with all the success in the healthcare system, Taiwan has suffered many misfortunes. From 1996 to 2008, the average annual growth rate of expenditures was 5.33%, which outstripped the revenue growth rate at 4.43%, which means we can easily face bankruptcy from these bizarre circumstances. 

Taiwan is the world’s fifth country to pass rare disease legislation and safeguard rare disease patients by obtaining medication and subsidies. To strengthen the care for rare disease patients, in 2000, Taiwan passed the “Rare Disease and Orphan Drug Act “as the source of law that protects the fundamental medical rights of rare disease patients. 

Can you share what forms of activism Flip for Destiny is participating in to raise awareness about rare diseases? What’s a recent event that you organized? 

We like to use Facebook as our platform to share more information about rare diseases. It allows us to let people understand what is going on, what they can take care of, and raise awareness about how we can build a better, more inclusive society. 

We divide our Facebook posts into two categories—”Knowledge” and “Story.” For the Knowledge part, we aim to introduce some rare diseases (more common ones) to the public, including causes, symptoms, primary health care, etc. We like to include things that correlate to people’s daily lives to raise more attention and awareness and make things relatable. 

As for the Story part, we like to interview patients, their families, caregivers, and social workers to collect their stories. We believe a story is the best way to share information and bring people together. 

How have people responded to the work you’re doing? Both clinicians and patients (and their families)? 

We had some consultation with organizations around the world to ask their opinions toward our project. Among all interviews, they all mentioned one concept: Interactions. Since rare diseases are a minority, they just don’t get as much media exposure. Therefore, we need to figure out how we can influence some people who might not be aware of this issue—trying to involve more people inside to create positive reinforcement and show our kindness for those suffering. 

What’s the meaning behind the name, “Flip for Destiny?” 

“Flip for Destiny” means that we’d like to bring some change for rare disease patients, change their destiny through people's attention, and shed light on their lives so they can maybe receive more help from the public. Unfortunately, most of the time, the general public is not exposed to information about rare diseases. This is something we want to change!

How can health education videos like we have on Osmosis help patients with rare diseases and their families? 

Videos like Osmosis’s can build a bridge for patients, allowing them to learn more easily about whatever health topic they need to know about. Since many times doctors and patients are in an unbalanced status, patients and their families don’t have much professional knowledge to diagnose or treat. Therefore, health education videos like Osmosis can empower patients and their families to understand their disease and what they can do next. Especially in the US, where people need to pay a lot to see a doctor. 

Moreover, it would be great to expand the list of languages to choose from in the subtitles so that Osmosis can continue to reach out further. People can conveniently receive details from the video instead of misunderstanding due to the language barrier. 

What’s coming up next for Flip for Destiny? 

We’d like to follow our original plan, do more online sharing, interview patients to get our material, and become good storytellers. Due to COVID-19, we haven’t had any offline activities so far! 

It’s Women in Medicine Month. What advice do you have for other women out there who are pursuing careers in health? 

Gender discrimination causes many imbalances in society. Women are still at risk of facing exploitation in the workplace, affirming the importance of involving women in leadership! 

We advise you to respond to the newly adopted “principles for advanced Gender Equality in Medicine,” the AMA. Let’s continue to protect our rights; when there is something unfair, it is time to stand up and make your voice heard so others know what you are facing. 

Being women in medicine, we have many roles, one of them being caregivers to our patients and our families. The demands of all the roles women often carry gives us pressure that can be hard to bear all alone. We believe women have great power, and we can unite to have our voices heard.  

Thanks for speaking with us today, Flip for Destiny team.

Thank you so much. With our best wishes for everything in the future.



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