One for all? Are physicians prepared to deliver care to the LGBTQIA+ community?

doctors ifmsa

(Jafar Ahmed, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Katherine Candelario, a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In society, standing out can cause quite a ruckus, especially when part of the very essence of who you are, runs against the beliefs of many individuals worldwide. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have struggled to find their voice over time, not only from a social standpoint, but also in healthcare. 56 percent of LGBTQIA+ individuals have felt discriminated against while seeking medical attention, either because medical intake forms don’t provide proper gender designation or there is an overt refusal of health services or information by the provider. (1)

As medical students, we are taught to cater to all populations, no matter the gender, their beliefs, race or preferences. This doesn’t only involve providing medical attention to the person seeking it, it includes having basic knowledge about the community and their wants and needs regarding health. In a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, more than 50 percent of the participants reported having to explain aspects of LGBTQIA+ health necessities to the physician or nurse providing care. This demonstrates that there is a gap in knowledge, which can ultimately lead to less access of healthcare by members of the LGBTQIA+ community in order to avoid these situations. (1)

The same survey previously mentioned also found that one in every four LGBTQIA+ members have reported encountering some form of medical discrimination in the last year alone. As a result of the aforementioned forms of disregard for this population, LGBTQIA+ members tend to put off seeking healthcare, in order to avoid all of these situations. (2)

As a medical student, I believe there are ways we can make improvements that will, in the long run, allow for a more inclusive form of healthcare. Customizing patient intake forms or consulting the “Guidelines of Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Patients”, which was created by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, are two simple but very effective ways to show members of the LGBTQIA+ community that we are here to help them, with no discrimination in mind, whatsoever.

Overall, I would encourage all medical students and current doctors, all over the world, to learn the basics about the LGBTQIA+ community, and how we can all offer the best form of healthcare to them. Sometimes just doing small and simple things, such as using the correct pronouns can create a more comfortable environment for patients and ultimately help build a better, more concrete doctor-patient relationship, which benefits everyone when providing healthcare. I believe there is still a long way to go before dignified medical care that is completely non-discriminatory is offered, but through minor changes, we can make a bid difference.

References

  1. New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates and widespread lack of access to necessary care – National LGBTQ Task Force [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.thetaskforce.org/new-report-reveals-rampant-discrimination-against-transgender-people-by-health-providers-high-hiv-rates-and-widespread-lack-of-access-to-necessary-care-2/
  2. “Discrimination is doing its dirty work”: a new survey looks at the effects of anti-LGBTQ hate – Vox [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/5/2/15505132/lgbtq-discrimination-cap-survey
  3. Creating an LGBTQ-friendly practice | American Medical Association [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/population-care/creating-lgbtq-friendly-practice

About the author

Katherine Candelario is a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. In 2015, she joined the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and has served as a Local Coordinator of the Standing Committee on Public Health as well as editor/translator for the publication support division (PSD) and coordinator of a weekly newsletter for IFMSA-Dominican Republic. She has shared her experiences in health as a medical student through five publications in the IFMSA Medical Student International. She also participates in community service activities of other local and international organizations in the Dominican Republic.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme

Ground-breaking clean air protocol to guard human health and the planet, enters into force

How a possible EU budget deficit affects the migration crisis

MEPs approve boost to workers’ rights in the gig economy

The G7 adopted dangerous views about Ukraine and Greece

One more country to test the EU project: Kaczynski’s Poland

The UK to split if May’s hard or no-deal Brexit is pursued

The world to teach Germans to…un-German

Innovative urban financing can make our cities stronger

Sweden must urgently implement reforms to boost fight against foreign bribery

Guterres: Security Council’s African alliances ‘needed and appreciated more than ever’

EU-US relations on the dawn of the Trump era

Youth Internationalization: part of everyday life in JADE

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

The importance of exchanges for the medical students of the world

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

The EU bows to Turkey in view of the talks for a political settlement in Syria

Gaza investigators call on Israel to review ‘rules of engagement’ as Gaza protest anniversary looms

Countries should focus on labour market policies to help refugees and improve coordinated actions to tackle illegal immigration

A Sting Exclusive: “Stronger Cybersecurity for a safer EU against cybercrime and cyber threats”, by MEP Dalli

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

Israel is joining forces with Arab states to save coral from climate change destruction

The challenges of mental health among the Syrian medical students

Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis

Want a Sustainable Earth? Bring on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Greater transparency, fairer prices for medicines ‘a global human rights issue’, says UN health agency

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

United States: UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by deadly California wildfires

More than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh get ID cards for first time: UN refugee agency

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

UN health agency highlights lifestyle choices that can prevent onset of dementia, as millions more succumb each year

France breaks budget promises once again and the EU’s finance offices are shaking

Can Greece’s democratic institutions keep it in Eurozone?

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

Britain’s May won the first round on the Brexit agreement with the EU

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

We could be sleepwalking into a new crisis. How should the business world prepare?

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

Nordic companies prove doing good is good for the bottom line

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector

Brexit: Is there anybody supporting a non-violent separation?

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Europe must regain its place as world leader in digital technology

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

EU-Turkey relations: Will Turkey manage to revive the EU accession process talks?

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions stall growth in Latin America and Caribbean region, UN says

Amid ‘volatile’ environment, UN mission chief urges Iraqi leaders to ‘listen to the voice of the people’

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s