Friday, September 9, 2011

Stanford LGBT medical education research group = rock stars

In 2009, a group of Stanford medical students undertook the tremendous task of surveying and analyzing the LGBT education curriculum in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. And this week, their research has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The good news is that this publication has been accompanied by tons of awesome press:

Now, the bad news:
Most US medical schools report dedicating only 5 hours to educate physicians-to-be about the health needs of patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)...And about one-third offer no such clinical training at all.

Well, crap.

I'm not going to get too heavy into medical school curriculum reform in this blog post, but I will say that yes, this topic is important. There are also lots of other topics that medical schools are not covering. They are all important, because the stakes (the patient) are so high. However, the current model of medical education (the "2+2" model -- 2 years of preclinical education, 2 years of clinical experience) doesn't allow space for adding in everything that needs to be there. Medical school is stuffed to the brim, and many programs are grappling with how to restructure and overhaul their curricula. So, even though the amount of education about LGBT patients should be increased, it's not as simple as saying, "let's just add an additional 15 hours into the mix." There's not an easy fix to any of this. Hooray, future physicians!

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