MedEdPortal – Call for Submissions – to improve LGBT / DSD curricula in Medical Schools

When I was at the AAMC Joint Meeting of the … (see: Dialogue about #hcsm at the 2013 #AAMCJtMtg – Academic Medicine and Social Media | Ted Eytan, MD), I was of course talking about the future, and that includes a more inclusive medical school curriculum around issues related to people who are LGBT (including, not excluding, T) and Disorders of Sex-Development-affected.

I learned there about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Disorders of Sex Development-affected Patient Care Project, which is being hosted at Association of American Medical Colleges’ MedEdPortal (@MedEdPortal) , which I also learned about:

MedEdPORTAL Publications promotes educational scholarship and collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed health education teaching and assessment resources.

The project, which states the obvious, in the most polite, understated way:

Strong evidence demonstrates that LGBT people and people who are affected by DSD are disadvantaged by our current healthcare system.

Is announcing a call for submissions to improve upon this situation, starting with medical schools:

The Association of American Medical Colleges announces a call for submissions for competency-based educational and assessment resources, as well as effective (or best) practices, policies and guidelines, that address the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) individuals, gender nonconforming and/or discordant children and adolescents, and those affected by disorders of sex development (DSD).

The are some resources/educational programs on the portal already. On the positive, it’s nice to be able to have a look into what medical schools might be teaching students in this field.  Also on the positive, there are some resources already on the portal, and some of them are inclusive of trans and gender identity issues. On the not-as-positive side, there isn’t that much for this population, some of it is focused on LGB only. That’s why the call for submissions is timely and filling an important need. Here’s a video of the presentation made about the call for submissions.

I’m not a medical school educator, or a trans person, however I think both should be involved in improving the knowledge of our doctors-to-be about listening, and being there for all of the patients/communities/societies they will serve in their lifetime.

I’m thinking back to the LGBT curriculum I experienced in medical school – it was mixed. The actual teaching about taking sexual histories was modern for its time. The actual real-life discussion of sexual minorities was a disaster (which I later fixed when I was a lecturer at University of Washington – if you don’t like the news, go out and make your own). There was no discussion whatsoever about transgender health issues or DSD-affected people. The thing is that these experiences, good or bad, can affect a physician for their entire career, not to mention the reinforcement that may unintentionally happen on hospital wards / in the medical offices where they rotate (see a description of my wards experience in this writeup).

There’s more background on this AAMC (@AAMCtoday) initiative below. The intent is to make sure it gets better, and gets better inclusively for trans and DSD-affected people. Even if you are not a curriculum developer, search around and feel free to add comments to any of the 3-4 pieces that are currently up there, it will help medical school faculty help save lives.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Disorders of Sex Development-affected Patient Care Project – Diversity Portfolios – Diversity and Inclusion – Initiatives – AAMC

I’m glad I found this work by the AAMC. There are more and more examples of health professionals understanding the huge gap in transgender health and why it is time for a change. I’m not imagining things, and I sense that I am just scratching the surface. That’s good, there’s a lot of depth to cover :).

Ted Eytan, MD