This resource is a 2-hour medical school curriculum intended to improve student knowledge of health care disparities facing LGBT individuals and to enhance comfort in caring for LGBT patients. The curriculum includes a brief lecture presentation, an interactive patient panel, and a small-group case-based learning exercise. The lecture presentation serves as an introduction to the teaching session. It reviews the concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation and highlights the health care disparities faced by LGBT individuals. The panel is composed of two to four individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Panelists introduce themselves and share some of their experiences (both positive and negative) accessing and receiving health care as an LGBT-identified person. The panelists then accept audience questions. For the case-based learning exercise, students are divided into small groups with a faculty or upperclassman facilitator. Students are presented with two patient cases, each with questions that they must discuss and reach consensus on. Students are expected to draw on information gathered in the required prereadings, the lecture presentation, the patient panel, and their own experiences. Facilitators are provided with a guide for stimulating student discussion and with suggested answers to discussion questions. As a group, the students are tasked with generating a list of five to 10 actions that they can take as future physicians toward improving care and reducing barriers for LGBT patients. At the end of the session, students are asked to share their reactions to the session. Following the session, the action lists generated by each small group are compiled and shared. After participating in the 2-hour seminar, a significant increase was observed in students’ perceived knowledge of LGBT health, perceived preparedness to care for LGBT patients, comfort discussing topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, and awareness of barriers to health care facing LGBT patients. The student feedback received was unanimously positive.
By the end of this session, students will be able to:
- Define sexual orientation and how it differs from sexual behavior.
- Explain the difference between sex and gender.
- Explain what it means for an individual to be transgender.
- Describe how behavior, marginalization, and avoidance of care create health disparities for LGBT individuals throughout their life span.
- Identify health care disparities facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
- Identify concrete ways in which health care providers can support LGBT patients and reduce barriers to health care.
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