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Family Medicine Initiates Medical Student Elective to Better Serve LGBTQ Patients

The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine now offers "Care of the LGBTQ Patient" as a course to third-year and fourth-year medical students. The two-week Family Medicine elective will help prepare students to more effectively treat the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning patient population.

Anthony Wilson, MD, Associate Professor and Course Director, said LGBTQ patients often have specialized needs related to gender transitions, preventive care, and psychological care. "Right now, our medical students have limited exposure to formal training in LGBTQ care. There has been a lot of research in this area and we need to better equip our students as they prepare for a career in medicine," Dr. Wilson said.

Vitaly Chernish, a UT College of Medicine student, advocated for the course.

Chernish said, "I got involved in LGBTQ+ care in college, starting with volunteering at a non-profit that provides free HIV testing and related services. I volunteered because of my interest in learning how mental health affects behavior and health outcomes." Chernish said he considered applying for an LGBTQ elective as an away rotation since UT COM did not offer one on any of its campuses, but during his Family Medicine rotation in Knoxville, he approached Dr. Wilson and the Family Medicine Clerkship Director, William Dabbs, MD, to see if UT could offer a course in Knoxville.

Dr. Wilson pursued the idea. "As a member of this community myself, I have a significant number of LGBT patients. The UT Health Science Center approved the elective for the 2019-2020 academic year, and it has enthusiastic support from our Dean as well as the Chair and faculty members of my department."

Dr. Wilson said he hopes the elective becomes a springboard for UTGSM residency programs to include LGBTQ-related curricula.

Hear Dr. Wilson discuss primary care and the new elective In the UTGSM Faculty Lounge with Dean Hauptman via YouTube.

Learn more about the medical student courses offered at UTGSM.

Pictured: Dr. Anthony Wilson teaches residents and medical students about primary care.

Posted September 3, 2019

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