Atlanta-based Morehouse School of Medicine broadens resources into LGBT health care

The Morehouse School of Medicine is teaming with the Association of American Medical Colleges to offer more resources in the care of LGBT and intersex people.

“Addressing health disparities in LGBT populations fits well with Morehouse School of Medicine’s tradition of serving the underserved,” said Carey Roth Bayer, associate professor of Community Health and Preventive Medicine/Medical Education at Morehouse, in a press release.

“All people have a sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex development. In general, medical and health professional education has not adequately addressed this reality,” Bayer said in the press release.

“Understanding how to sensitively approach sexuality with patients is integral to providing respectful, high quality health care to all, especially those who are LGBT, gender nonconforming, or born with DSD [disorder of sex development, or intersex],” Bayer added.

The new resources include:

• the first guidelines for training doctors in caring for LGBT patients

• a report on how to apply the guidelines in the medical school curriculum

• a professional development video series to begin in January

From the press release:

The AAMC resource guide identifies 30 competencies that physicians must master. These competencies fall under eight domains of care critical to training physicians. This competency-based framework will allow medical educators to integrate the new guidelines into existing curricula more easily and encourage faculty and health care professionals to move away from thinking of patients in these groups as separate from the general patient population.

Former U.S. Surgeon David Satcher, director of Morehouse’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, praised the partnership with AAMC.

“When it comes to neglected areas such as LGBT, gender nonconforming, and DSD patient health, leadership development in addressing health disparities is critical,” he said in a prepared statement.

A 2014 national study showed:

• Lesbians and bisexual women are less likely than heterosexual women to obtain mammograms and Pap tests

• Gay men have higher rates of alcohol and drug use

• LGB people have higher rates of tobacco use and are more likely to lack health insurance

• LGB older adults have increased risk of disability, excessive drinking, and smoking

• 18 percent of doctors in California are “sometimes” or “often” uncomfortable treating gay patients

• 9.4 percent of men who identified themselves as “straight” in New York City had sex with another man during the past year.

• 76 percent of self-identified lesbian sexually active adolescents reported having had sex with a male

And according to the CDC: “Members of the LGBT community are at increased risk for a number of health threats when compared to their heterosexual peers [1-5]. Differences in sexual behavior account for some of these disparities, but others are associated with social and structural inequities, such as the stigma and discrimination that LGBT populations experience.”

Atlanta’s the Health Initiative also offers LGBT competency training to health care providers to assist them in learning to care for the specific concerns LGBT patients may have.