Coverage of LGBT Health-Related Content: A Comparative Analysis of Medical, Nursing and Pharmacy Programs

Jacob Bleasdale, Steven Gabriet and Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong

Cartoon drawing of health care workers painting a rainbow flag.

Let's start the conversation about equitable health care for the LGBT community.

Graduate Student Project

Introduction

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals comprise approximately 4% of the United States population; yet, experience significantly higher rates of negative health outcomes compared to the heterosexual majority. This disparity is primarily driven by the increased prevalence of discrimination and stigmatization endured by LGBT individuals while engaging in care. My name is Jacob Bleasdale. I am a first year PhD student in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior in the School of Public Health and Health Professions. My work as a doctoral student emphasizes the health and wellness of historically marginalized populations, specifically the LGBTQ+ community. I seek to understand, identify, and intervene on behaviors that affect primary and secondary prevention and maintenance of HIV among at-risk groups. Additionally, I wish to understand systemic barriers that impede successful engagement in care for LGBTQ+ individuals, with specific emphasis on patient-provider communication and healthcare professional training programs. While researchers have examined LGBT patients' challenges to engaging in health care, there is a limited body of research that examines health care professionals training and readiness to provide care to sexual and gender minorities. Given this gap, the purpose of this study was to assess medical, nursing, and pharmacy students' perceived coverage of LGBTQ health-related topics in their educational training programs. By comparing these programs, future healthcare professionals' training programs can be improved upon to address the LGBT community's health-related needs.

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals comprise 4% of the U.S. population; yet, experience significantly higher rates of negative health outcomes compared to the heterosexual majority. A critical strategy to combat these health disparities is to train healthcare professionals to provide high-quality, equitable care to sexual and gender minorities. This study sought to compare the extent of coverage of LGBT health-related content in medical (MD), nursing (NP), and pharmacy (PharmD) school curricula at two universities in NYS. Chi-Square tests with Bonferroni adjustments for multiple comparisons were conducted to understand differences in coverage by training program (MD, NP, PharmD) and program year (pre-clinical, clinical). Results indicated significant associations between training program and extent of coverage for 92% of LGBT health topics (p<0.05). Significant associations in coverage based on program year existed as well. Results highlight the need for additional inclusion of LGBT health-related curriculum in professional training programs.

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