Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science
Bridging Gaps: Sexual and Gender Minority Curricular Change in Physician Assistant Education
Dr. Tom Colletti DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) patients have a long history of mistrust in the medical community. Layers of pervasive institutional and provider bias have historically driven a wedge between clinician and patient. Longstanding lack of representation in public policy, legal protections and public health data collection are elements that have contributed to the invisibility of SGM patients. Recently, national healthcare and academic leaders have acknowledged the importance of including patient diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) content in medical education. Yet, clinicians remain ill-prepared to address disenfranchised populations including the SGM community. This review presents evidence of curricular directives promoting SGM healthcare initiatives that can create a path to lasting change. Planning begins with identifying content gaps and gaining institutional support, progressing to faculty preparedness, and creating safe space experiential learning environments. These initial steps set the groundwork for implementing a multimodal curriculum design fostering a DEI culture shift throughout an institution. Approaching curriculum planning as a continuum of support is then suggested. Communicating a tone of non-discrimination must become a system-wide commitment. Educators can then promote consistently thoughtful ways to address patients that build the necessary trust and common ground communication between clinician and patient that bridges successful relationships.
Fiore C. Bridging Gaps: Sexual and Gender Minority Curricular Change in Physician Assistant Education. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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