Medical school requires a great deal of hard work and determination, but is the education that medical students receive adequate? Some students wouldn't say so, namely Sarah Spiegel, who believes that the curriculum surrounding LGBT issues was not as good as it could be, so she and other students decided to take matters into their own hands, according to NPR.
Spiegel was sitting in class during her first year of medical watching a Buzzfeed video about the lives that transgender and intersex people live as well a thirty-minute video on sexual orientation. This was the only LGBT-oriented information offered to the students. She said that the video was fine, but wasn't adequate for students who will soon be doctors.
During her second year, she became president of the LGBT Advocacy in Medicine Club and gathered her peers to speak to the school's administration about the lack of LGBT education.
The administration was impressed by Spiegel's presentation and now NYMC has seven hours dedicated to LGBT-focused education instead of just 1½ hours.
Studies have shown that, in general, medical schools do not do an adequate job at providing LGBT education, which may lead to bias. Because of that, about 20% of LGBTQ people avoid necessary medical care in fear of prejudice.
Dr. Madeleine Deutsch, a professor at the University of California, says that such disparities should be addressed to students. She comments that in general, medical schools address disparities related to ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status but fail to properly address disparities related to sexual orientation because LGBTQ people have historically not been considered a key population.
Because of the lack of LGBT education, many doctors feel as if they are not properly prepared to care for LGBT patients. In a survey sent to 658 students at New England medical schools, 80% of respondents said that they were "not competent" with medical treatment of LGBT patients.
I have neither the time or patience (nor the ability to deal with blood) to attend medical school but I'm sure that it takes great perseverance. Doctors definitely do good for the world, but many aren't completely confident in their ability to treat LGBT patients. What Spiegel has done is nothing short of admirable and we can only hope that her determination can reach medical schools across the United States and around the world.