Straight Talk: CME/CE as an Ally for LGBTQIA+ Health
According to a 2022 Gallup poll, the percentage of adults in the US who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual has doubled in the last decade, and stands at 7.1%.
1 in 5 Gen Z adults identify as LGBT.
But health disparities persist among people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual and more (LGBTQA+).
And discrimination against LGBTQA+ people is a key social determinant of health that is linked with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse,and suicide. Discrimination is evident even as people in LGBTQA+ communities navigate healthcare.
My guest this episode is Dena Silva, an educator with a passion for creating education that enables clinicians to address the healthcare needs of LGBTQA+ communities. Dena is CME Director for an association management organization which includes oversight of 4 medical societies in California.
We talked about:
✔️ How to work with experts who really know about the challenges facing LGBTQA+ patients in health care
✔️ The role of education in supporting providers who are working with LGBTQA+ patients
✔️ What providers need to know in order to meet the health care needs of LGBTQA+ patients
✔️ Strategies to build more representative and inclusive education programs
✔️ How skilled facilitators are an asset
Straight Talk as a Starting Point
Sometimes the conversation was tricky (failing forward!). It’s straight talk, after all, rather than talk among people who are LGBTQA+. We recognize that this conversation may be filled with things that we stumbled over.
But as Dena reminded me, in order to show up as an ally for LGBTQA+-affirming CME/CE, we need to learn how be sensitive about the ways we represent ourselves, the language we use, and the assumptions we make about who people are and what they need from healthcare providers. We welcome feedback for our own learning journey so we can improve the way we communicate about this topic and better advocate for LGBTQA+ health needs.
The CME community has an opportunity to create education programs that increase awareness around health disparities for LGBTQA+ patients and that equip clinicians with tools to have a conversation with their patients about how they would like to be addressed and what they need from their health care providers. CME/CE can offer a safe space for clinicians to mess up, to say the wrong thing, and to find a way to course correct in curious, compassionate, non-judgmental ways.
Without education leading the way, many clinicians will opt to not have this conversation at all.
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