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“Oh You Should Talk to…”: The Implementation of LGBTQ Health Curricula in Medical Education

Sexual and Gender Minority Health

ISBN: 978-1-83867-147-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-146-4

Publication date: 15 January 2021


Purpose: This chapter examines the implementation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) health curricula in medical education, focusing on how this content is presented to students to understand if these curricula can fulfill goals of achieving healthcare equity for LGBTQ populations.

Methodology: This research draws on data from six months of participant observation of an academic medical center and school and 28 interviews with medical faculty, students, community members, administrators, and LGBTQ Health Center employees.

Findings: This research has three findings: (1) this medical school has variable definitions for LGBTQ health, making it a hybrid form of knowledge based in (a) understanding the unique health needs of; (b) being culturally competent to; and (c) being a (structural) advocate for LGBTQ patients; (2) LGBTQ health is integrated into multiple courses in the curriculum; and (3) LGBTQ health is becoming a medical specialty frequently delivered to students by LGBTQ health experts.

Research limitations and implications: This research used snowball sampling to recruit participants engaged in LGBTQ health at the institution; it therefore risks self-selection bias. Findings from this study are not generalizable.

Originality: This research argues that LGBTQ health experts engage in a new kind of diversity and inclusion work because (1) these health experts are not always LGBTQ identified; (2) this work is not necessarily unpaid or involuntary; and (3) it involves a hybrid knowledge requiring an understanding of LGBTQ identity, medical knowledge, and social science. Because these LGBTQ health experts opt into this work, and broadly define it, a message available to other physicians and students is that LGBTQ health remains elective.



Herling, J. (2021), "“Oh You Should Talk to…”: The Implementation of LGBTQ Health Curricula in Medical Education", LeBlanc, A.J. and Perry, B.L. (Ed.) Sexual and Gender Minority Health (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 277-298.



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