Inclusion is becoming a priority for U.S. medical schools — and efforts appear to be paying off. Initiatives to create disability-friendly spaces, for example, have already increased enrollment from students reporting a physical, sensory, learning, psychological, and/or chronic health condition.
Outreach continues to reach other minority groups, thanks to staff members at the University of Wisconsin (UW). Last month, Dr. James Lehman and Dr. Elizabeth Petty announced the publication of The Equal Curriculum — a textbook intended to serve as a multi-disciplinary resource for LGBTQ health education.
RELATED: Number of medical students with disabilities on the rise
“Across the country, the amount of education in LGBTQ health at the graduate health science level is incredibly variable,” Lehman told the Badger Herald.
“When [medical schools] did teach about LGBTQ health it was often as its own day or singular activity, as opposed to whenever it would make sense.”
A sample of topics covered in the textbook includes pediatrics, neurology, and transgender health, as well as health-adjacent subjects, like sociology.
Diversity Officer for UW’s School of Nursing Mel Freitag told the Badger a lack of medical knowledge about LGBTQ health can build patient distrust and cause patients to put off seeing a doctor.
“Patients will scan the environment for signs of possible harm and for safety,” Lehman said.
“And I think the medical system has been involved in discrimination and harm to these communities. We have yet to make up for problems we have caused.”