246409 Medical Students' Knowledge and Perceptions Regarding Care for LGBT Patients

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:15 PM

Allison L. Diamant, MD, MSHS , School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Sebastian Uijtdehaage, PhD , Center for Education Development and Research, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
David Tran, BS , David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Studies have documented homophobia in public health and medicine. Healthy People 2010 specifically recognized that the LGBT community experiences unique health disparities. This study was conducted to assess the knowledge and perceived importance of LGBT issues among medical students, and to identify the characteristics associated with knowledge, perceived clinical importance and degree of comfort caring for LGBT patients. Methods: Conducted in 2010, this was a cross-sectional cohort study of all four years of medical students. 390 students out of 709 completed the survey (55% response rate). The online survey was composed of 23-questions with responses based on a Likert scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Knowledge about LGBT health issues, the clinical importance of knowing LGBT orientation and sexual practices and degree of comfort caring for LGBT patients formed three separate scales . We performed linear regression models controlling for gender, year of medical school, sexual orientation, personal beliefs and interaction with LGBT individuals. Results: 30% of students believe/are uncertain whether sexual orientation is a choice; 49% assume that a patient is heterosexual. The mean knowledge score was 3.73; predictors included gender, under represented minority, number of LGBT people known, homosexuality as a choice and homosexuality as immoral. The mean score for clinical importance of knowing if a patient is LGBT was 4.26; predictors were sexual orientation and number of LGBT people known. The mean score for degree of comfort caring for LGBT individuals was 4.3, predictors were year in medical school, gender, sexual orientation, under represented minority, assumption of heterosexuality, number of LGBT people known and homosexuality as immoral. Conclusions: Students present to Medical School with very specific ideas and beliefs that can affect their learning and patient care. Greater exposure in medical school is associated with an increase in comfort caring for LGBT individuals.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
X Describe the level of knowledge among medical students around issues of LGBT health. X Describe the perceived level of importance of medical students knowing the sexual orientation and sexual practices of their patients. X Identify the student characteristics associated with knowledge, perceived clinical importance, comfort caring for LGBT patients and adequacy of the curriculum around LGBT issues.

Keywords: Minority Health, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research on LGBT health and have taught this subject to medical students and other health care professionals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.