The most recent issue of the AAMC Reporter has an interesting article on the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) medical students, physicians and patients. Included is a discussion of the historical challenges facing gay medical students – such as “underprepared faculty and staff, negative comments in and out of the classroom, and limited LGBT content in the curriculum” – and steps that schools are taking to aid these students and respond to any incidents:
…Some medical schools have changed their reporting systems to make them safer. Drexel allows a student to anonymously submit a complaint and be quickly transferred, if necessary, to a new clinical training site. Offending clinicians can receive sensitivity training and education or, in extreme cases, be banned from working with students. Stanford provides students with the option to delay faculty notification, in case they feel more comfortable waiting until after evaluations are complete.
Medical schools also are working to better support LGBT students. At UCSF, an “out list” publicly lists openly LGBT students and faculty to help facilitate collegiality and networking. Open LGBT faculty members “send the message that they can advance academically and rise to high-ranking positions at an academic institution,” [Samuel Parrish, MD, associate dean for student affairs and admissions at Drexel University College of Medicine] said.
The most heartening part of the article? The fact that experts say things are better now than they were just five or ten years ago. Commented Jonathan Appelbaum, MD, director of internal medicine education at Florida State University College of Medicine: “Many medical students don’t even see it as much of an issue because a diverse learning environment seems only natural to them.”