Med students push for more LGBTI health training

A third-year med student at New York Medical College is vocal about the need to focus more on LGBTI health

Sarah Spiegel, a third-year med student at New York Medical College, is pushing for more comprehensive LGBTI health training.

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After being disappointed in the brief information about LGBTI health given to her in her first year of med school, Spiegel decided to make a change.

By her second year, she became president of the school’s LGBT Advocacy in Medicine Club. Spiegel and a group of peers approached the administration about the lack of LGBTI content in the curriculum.

According to Spiegel, the administration was ‘amazingly receptive’ to the idea. Thus, the school went from an hour and half of LGBTI-focused content to seven hours. Spiegel does not think this change would have happened had the school’s LGBTI group not pushed for it.

Spiegel went on to join The American Medical Student Association’s Gender and Sexuality Committee as the LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator. Her job in this role was to bring curricular change to other medical schools in the New York area.

Med schools and LGBTI health

Numerous studies have shown that medical schools do a poor job of training future doctors to understand the LGBTI population’s unique health needs. This is especially true when it comes to transgender and intersex people. A 2017 survey of students at Boston University School of Medicine found their knowledge of transgender and intersex health to be less than LGB health.

However, LGBTI people, especially transgender individuals, face a disproportionately high rate of mental illness, HIV, and other intersecting issues. A poll conducted by NPR found that 1 in 5 LGBTI adults have avoided medical care out of fear of discrimination.

‘The health of disparity populations is something that really should be the focus of health profession students,’ Dr. Madeline Deutsch, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, tells NPR.

‘Sexual and gender minorities have historically been not viewed as a key population. That’s unfortunate because of the size of the population, and because of the extent of the disparities that the population faces.’

While the amount of time medical students spend on LGBTI-related issues varies, a 2011 study found the median amount of time spent on the topic was a mere five hours. Topics most frequently addressed were safe sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. However, topics like gender transitioning weren’t often spoken of.

‘There’s not really a consistent curriculum that exists around this content,’ says Deutsch.

Activists doing the work

But with activists like Sarah Spiegel, LGBTI health is being spoken about more and more.

‘We’re getting there, but it’s slow,’ Spiegel tells NPR.

See Also:

Only half of US cancer doctors have good knowledge of LGBTI patient needs

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1 in 5 non-binary people denied medical treatment due to their identity

Author: Rafaella Gunz

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Only half of US cancer doctors have good knowledge of LGBTI patient needs

A patient has their blood pressure measured by a health worker

According to a new report, half of cancer doctors in the United States are unprepared to adress and treat the specific needs of their LGBTI patients.

The report was published by several authors in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

As it explains, the purpose of the report is to ‘identify potential gaps in attitudes, knowledge, and institutional practices toward LGBTQ patients’.

In order to complete their survey and find results, the authors took a random sample of 450 oncologists from 45 cancer centers from the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfile.

Findings of the report

Promsingly, a majority of the oncologists affirmed the importance of knowing their patients’ identities and receiving LGBTQ education.

Regarding identities, more believe it’s important to know a patient’s gender identity (65.8%) compared to sexual orientation (39.6%). A large majority (70.4%) expressed interest in receiving education specifically about LGBTQ patients.

Following the survey, however, confidence dropped among oncologists about their own knowledge.

53.1% said they were confident about LGB health needs and information before taking the survey. That number dropped to 38.9% after the survey.

The numbers were even lower about transgender knowledge (from 36.9% to 19.5%).

A promising fact is that a majority of these doctors (83%) feel comfortable treating trans patients, but only 37% felt like they know enough to actually do so.

How to address this

‘With this research, we’re really interested in looking at how discrimination affects not only patient health but also how can we intervene at the provider level to have an impact on quality of care,’ one of the author’s, Megan Sutter, told CBS News.

Another author of the study, Gwendolyn Quinn, revealed some of the questions they asked the oncologists.

They asked the doctors if they knew the LGBTQ community is more likely to spend time in the sun, use tobacco, and have substance abuse. They also inquired if women who have never had sex with a man are still at risk for HPV.

‘The answer to these questions is that they’re true, but many of the doctors in the survey didn’t think that,’ Quinn said.

She continued: ‘It’s not a patient issue. We should not expect people who identify as LGBTQ to train us about what their needs are. It is our obligation as institutions and providers of care to figure out how we can best serve them.’

See also

Buck Angel gives advice to trans men at the gynecologist

LGBTIs reveal the things they dread that straight people don’t stress about

New York bans LGBTI conversion therapy on minors

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Only half of US cancer doctors have good knowledge of LGBTI patient needs appeared first on Gay Star News.

1 in 5 non-binary people denied medical treatment due to their identity

A patient has their blood pressure measured by a health worker

A new study from academics found that 1 in 5 non-binary people in the United States are denied healthcare and medical treatment due to their gender identity.

Dr. Walter Liszewski, a resident at the University of Minnesota, and three other co-authors published Persons of Nonbinary Gender — Awareness, Visibility, and Health Disparities for the New England Journal of Medicine in December.

‘As our society’s concept of gender evolves, so does the visibility of contemporary nonbinary people,’ they wrote at the start of the paper.

‘Yet many members of the medical community may not know how to interact with nonbinary patients respectfully or recognize their unique needs and barriers to care.’

The alarming findings

According to the paper, 23% of non-binary people have avoided seeking medical treatment due to fear of discrimination.

Another 19% said they’ve been denied treatment altogether due to their identity as non-binary people.

The authors further revealed other details about non-binary people’s health. They found that, overall, non-binary people face higher rates of certain health and life conditions than other people.

Some of these conditions include psychological stress and mental health struggles, being victims of domestic abuse, and poverty and unemployment.

‘We need to do better’

Liszewski said in a press release he hopes the paper will make doctors ‘aware of nonbinary patients, and realize we need to do a better job of allowing these individuals to access quality healthcare’.

‘Our findings really highlight that there’s a lot of skepticism and hesitancy around nonbinary and gender nonconforming patients to engage with healthcare professionals,’ he added.

Previous studies have shown similar results, both abroad and in the US.

A study last year out of UCLA revealed, out of LGB people, bisexual people in the US have the worst access to a regular doctor, as well as higher rates of unhealth behavior.

In general, discrimination is a massive problem in the world of healthcare for LGBTI people.

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