AMA Wire

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012

News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians

Residency programs work to bridge gaps in LGBT training

Residency programs work to bridge gaps in LGBT training

An estimated 3.4 percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT), but most medical students average only five hours of education on the health needs of LGBT patients. It's a gap some innovative residency programs are trying to fill, according to a recent American Medical News article.

For example, Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center teamed up with Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which primarily serves LGBT patients, to offer residents a two-week program in which they shadow a physician. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has taken a broader approach by integrating LGBT topics into general curriculum. So a student completing emergency medicine course work might learn about the high prevalence of attempted suicide among LGBT youths and how to identify sexual orientation when collecting a patient history.

"It's easy to put this material into an elective, and a lot of schools have done this, but I think it's better integrated into the broader curriculum," said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, who led the school's initiative.

But there is still a long way to go, and "still a very real tension surrounding these issues, similar to issues of racism and discrimination, which makes them difficult to engage in," according to Marc Nivet, the chief diversity officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The AMA encourages graduate medical education organizations to include LGBT health issues in the cultural competency curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate medical education.

GLBT rights covered during AMA advisory committee meeting

During its Nov. 11 business meeting, the AMA Advisory Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Issues hosted an education session and caucus on the state of GLBT rights around the country, led by attorney Janson Wu. Participants discussed pending and settled court cases and how they will impact GLBT health and well-being. Wu concluded by praising the AMA for being a recognized advocate and leader on health-related issues that are important to this population.