Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Study highlights effect of discrimination on GLB individuals
Being the victim of discrimination can be a psychologically painful experience, and even lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Knowing how discrimination and mental health are related can help clinicians treat these adverse symptoms.
Researcher Brian A. Feinstein further explored the dynamic with his recent study of the experiences of 249 gay men and 218 lesbians. Participants were surveyed about their sensitivity to rejection and negative homosexual perceptions and how that affected their mental health.
Feinstein found that negative attitudes toward homosexuality were directly predictive of discrimination and future social anxiety and depression. He also discovered that participants who reported gender nonconformity in childhood were more likely to report discrimination later in life.
Understanding the relationship between mental health and experiences of discrimination among the gay, lesbian and bisexual population can help clinicians provide these patients with better care. The AMA provides resources to help physicians "Know How to Communicate with LGBT Patients."
Minnesota health data show GLBT disparities
For the first time Minnesota's most populous county and its largest university released health data with the hopes of identifying ways to improve care for the growing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) population.
Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota, and Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, released data stretching from 2007 to 2011. The results indicated that there are significant disparities between GLBT individuals and their heterosexual fellow Minnesotans.
Areas in which disparities were identified included health insurance coverage, mental health, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and sexual health. This is alarming especially considering that nearly 7 percent of students at the university identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
"Health care access is a huge issue [in] both finding physicians who are familiar with LGBT health issues and being comfortable providing information about your sexual orientation and gender identity," said Joann Usher, the executive director of Rainbow Health Initiative, a non-profit which partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Hennepin County to compile the data. They hope their findings will highlight the need for physicians to be conscious of the care they provide to GLBT individuals. A full report is expected to be released in December.
The AMA has created a resource to help physicians do their part to "Take Steps to Spread Awareness of LGBT Health Issues."