Shane Snowdon, MA, director of Health & Aging at the Human Rights Campaign, met with leaders and members from the Department of Medicine in April to talk about what faculty and trainees need to know about how to improve the medical care for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender patients, and how best to teach residents and students about the importance of these competencies.
During her talk, Snowdon addressed some challenges clinicians may encounter in providing care to LGBT patients, such as access to health care, the stigma that LGBT patients may face coming into the health system, medical problems that are distinct to this patient population and the need to improve the education of physicians and students on LGBT patient care issues.
Jason Webb, MD, chief resident for the Durham VA Medical Center, attended the talk. He said that part of the challenge for clinicians with caring for LGBT patients is that there has been no formalized curriculum for medical students or residents on LGBT patient care, and so the training physicians receive varies across the country.
Dr. Webb said he would like to see more educational opportunities for residents, fellows and faculty on LGBT patient care at Duke.
“Our job in medical education is to be the voice for our patients and to educate the residents and medical students on competencies for the future that are relevant,” Webb said. “From my perspective, the LGBT population is not a small percentage of our total population in the U.S., and if we are going to provide good care to our patients, we have to be well educated and willing to sit down and listen.”
Webb hopes the department will incorporate more formal training opportunities for the faculty, residents and medical students on LGBT patient care and has been working with Mary Klotman, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, on integrating more educational topics into Grand Rounds and resident noon conferences in the coming year.
For now, anyone interested can reference a comprehensive list of key LGBT resources Snowdon provided for health care practitioners who would like to learn more. Snowdon recommended browsing through these resources, and she highlighted the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and Trans Care Project, Vancouver, as good sources for information on transgender patient care.
Webb also recommended the following resources from Snowdon’s list for quality, evidence-based practices for LGBT patient care: