The need to better train future physicians on how to care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients is the subject of an American Medical News story today. Citing research showing that medical schools spend on average just five hours on LGBT health issues, writer Carolyne Krupa includes the thoughts of a Stanford expert:
LGBT patients face numerous disparities, such as limited access to employer-based health care, lower rates of screening for common health conditions and higher rates of mental health issues, said Gabriel Garcia, MD, a gastroenterologist/ hepatologist and professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in California. He is faculty adviser to the school’s LGBT Medical Education Research Group.
Lack of training in LGBT health perpetuates inequities in health outcomes through continued stereotyping and stigmatization, he said. A 2007 survey of 736 California physicians found that at least one in six felt uncomfortable providing care to gay patients.
“Quality patient-provider relationships are the foundation for good health outcomes,” Dr. Garcia said. “LGBT people, as all others, need health care providers they can trust and with whom they can develop genuine, respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.”