Addressing Inequities Through the LGBTQ2+ Medical Curriculum
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- David Lee (University of Toronto)
- Kristian McCarthy (University of Toronto)
LGBTQ2+ populations are affected by a variety of unique social, structural, and behavioral factors lending to unique healthcare needs. The Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA) recognizes the need for equitable healthcare and the need to address gaps in delivering competent care to the LGBTQ2+ population. The intricacies of how to meet these healthcare needs are not taught in most traditional medical education curricula. Medical schools must review their curricula to identify where their specific gaps exist regarding this topic and look to positive+ examples of how learners at other educational institutions are being taught about LGBTQ2+ health.
- In collaboration with OMSA,
individual Faculties of Medicine should create guidelines and
policies for preparing competency-based learning objectives in
pre-existing medical courses that would allow for future
physicians to deliver high-quality care to LGBTQ2+ patients which
are not limited to but include:
- Informing on correct LGBTQ2+ terminology, including proper pronouns, and understanding that this is the first step in providing an inclusive environment.
- Addressing social determinants of health specific to LGBTQ2+ populations.
- Addressing the vulnerabilities and disparities to accessing healthcare that LGBTQ2+ populations experience.
- Allowing for earlier exposure to LGBTQ2+ populations throughout preclinical curricula and clinical rotations to hopefully mediate learner apprehension.
- Mandating a minimum number of hours of observation or preclinical exposure be conducted in healthcare settings dedicated to vulnerable populations such as LGBTQ2+ identifying individuals.
- In collaboration with OMSA, the individual Faculties of Medicine should create learning objectives in pre-existing medical courses that recognize the history and experiences of stigmatization and discrimination of the LGBTQ2+ community and demystify these notions that can hinder patient-centered care.
- As recommended by Rainbow Health Ontario, medical school curricula should include “education about Canada’s history of colonization, the Indigenous communities on whose land Canada exists, Indigenous beliefs and practices, Two Spirit communities and identities, examination of one’s own biases, and addressing the root causes of health disparities”.