Haidn E. Foster: Members Move Medicine: Advancing LGBTQ medical education

Haidn E. Foster

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Haidn E. Foster, a second-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

AMA member since: 2017.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: As I pursued graduate studies in English and went on to head a marketing startup, a career in medicine was the furthest thing from my mind. Then a chronic medical issue I’d lived with for years was finally diagnosed and treated with multiple surgeries, and health care suddenly became very real and very personal. For the first time in a long while I’d felt safe in my own body. I knew then that I had to do what I could to help others find wellness in their own lives.

How I move medicine: Through research, advocacy and education. During my medical training I’ve had the privilege of investigating virus-cancer interactions and novel cancer therapeutics, representing my peers in the AMA, and advancing the state of LGBTQ health care education.

Career highlights: My proudest accomplishments in organized medicine include authoring AMA policy promoting the well-being of LGBTQ patients and serving in my region’s delegation to the AMA House of Delegates. I also prize the opportunity I’ve had to provide policy recommendations as a member and leader of several reference committees in the AMA and the Ohio State Medical Association.

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: When shadowing as a premed, I was advised numerous times to get out of medicine while I still could. To be sure, there are many sensible reasons to pursue a career other than medicine. But if you’re as inspired by healing as I was then and remain to this day, nothing will dissuade you from becoming a physician.

How I give back to the community: One way I advocate for patients is by editing Pride in Practice, a nonprofit online publication I founded to advance LGBTQ medical education. By featuring voices at the forefront of LGBTQ-inclusive care, Pride in Practice empowers physicians and other health professionals to give excellent care for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and differences in sex development.

Aspect of my work that means the most: Knowing that my work in and out of the clinic tangibly improves patients’ lives keeps me motivated to give 100% of myself every day.

My hope for the future of medicine: Universal access to quality, affordable health care. I’m heartened that we’re now beginning to have a real national conversation about ways to turn this hope into a reality.

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.