AMA Wire

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians

Quality improvement examined at AMA-GLBT committee meeting

Quality improvement examined at AMA-GLBT committee meeting

The AMA-GLBT Advisory Committee held a June 15 reception, caucus and education program titled "Driving LGBT quality improvement across a medical center." The program featured Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Kristen Eckstrand, a fifth-year student in Vanderbilt's combined MD/PhD program, both of whom this spring were invited to a White House Champions of Change gathering on the topic.

During the past year, the committee has played a pivotal role in educating the public and physicians about GLBT health, including the distribution of an educational module to medical students, residents and fellows titled "Meeting the health care needs of GLBT people." This resource includes information on caring for GLBT patients, the national GLBT health care landscape and the future of GLBT health care.

During this year's elections of committee officers, Adam Levine, MD, was elected chair, and Gregory Blaschke, MD, was elected vice chair.

Rights group publishes landmark GLBT survey

Findings from an in-depth survey of more than 10,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) teens raises serious concerns about health issues and challenges facing these young people.

The survey by the Human Rights Commission found that a meager 37 percent of GLBT youths described themselves as happy, compared to 67 percent of straight youths. In the survey, 54 percent of GLBT youths reported having been verbally harassed, and 47 percent said they do not "fit in" in their communities.

There was some silver lining, as the study revealed that 83 percent of GLBT youths believed they would be happy eventually, but only 49 percent said they could accomplish this if they stayed in the same city or town. Within the home, 60 percent reported that their families are accepting of GLBT people, while one-third said their families are not.

GLBT and straight respondents also were asked to describe their most important problem. While straight teens listed the usual challenges of high school, GLBT youths' worries were directly related to their identity as GLBT, including non-accepting families and bullying.

As physicians, developing effective communication with GLBT teens and understanding the challenges they're facing is essential to providing the care they need. The AMA offers resources to help practitioners understand important GLBT health issues and learn how to communicate with GLBT patients.