New Textbook Aims to Close Gaps in LGBTQ Health Curriculum in Medical Schools

Equal CurriculumBy Savannah Kind | appeared 1/28/2020 in the Badger Herald

University of Wisconsin staff members helped create a new textbook designed to close gaps in knowledge about LGBTQ health.

Dr. James Lehman, a senior editor, and Dr. Elizabeth Petty helped edit the textbook. “The Equal Curriculum,” which covers LGBTQ friendly medical encounters, specialties like pediatrics and neurology, transgender health, HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and global LGBTQ health.

Diversity Officer for the School of Nursing Mel Freitag spoke about reasons why gaps still exist for LGBTQ health curriculum.

“I think the gap in health care [comes from] a color blindness. The helping professional fields feel like they already treat all their patients the same. So, regardless of the patients’ background I’m going to treat the disease, not the patient,” said Freitag.

Freitag said health professionals may think a person’s gender or sexual identity does not impact their level of care, but because of this many health disparities continue to persist. A care giver’s lack of knowledge on LGBTQ health can make patients less trusting of their health care providers, Freitag said, impacting patients in a variety of ways.
LGBTQ Health Summit logo

“The ability for health care providers to say ‘I don’t know, but I’m going to do my homework and check on that … is really a shift. In the end, it can really affect quality, and safety and care of a patient.” —Mel Freitag

Freitag organized the first LGBTQ+ Health Summit in 2019 at UW to educate current health providers—the knowledge health providers gain at the summit can be put into practice right away.

The second annual LGBTQ+ Health Summit will take place Friday, April 17, 2020. Registration is currently open.

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