LGBTQIA Health and Social History

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Ally/Asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals often face significant obstacles to obtaining comprehensive healthcare, putting them at greater risk of poor health outcomes. The educational program at Zucker School of Medicine (ZSOM) recognizes this unique challenge and has taken steps to help break down certain barriers by fostering a deeper understanding of the specific healthcare needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.

An interactive educational program, designed by institutional experts, communications faculty, and student leaders of the LGBTQIA+ committee, addresses the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that care givers need in order to properly assess and care for LGBTQIA+ patients. Pre-session assignments orient students to language and communication strategies. A large group session on LGBTQIA+ healthcare including historical elements underlying disparate health outcomes is followed by a small group session focused on the social history including a reflection on the challenges of taking a social history, instruction on transitioning to sensitive questions in the sexual history, and skills practice through role-plays in the safe space of continuity small groups. Students have the opportunity to practice these skills in their outpatient continuity practices and the clinical skills lab.

Topics that are relevant to LGBTQIA+ healthcare continue to be examined and understood throughout the curricular program through interactive sessions on communication skills, HIV prevention and care, domestic violence, health equity, ethics and professionalism, social needs screening, preventive healthcare, and community health. Students have the option to engage in clinical electives in settings including the Northwell Health Center for Transgender Care. ZSOM faculty published their approach to faculty development and medical education in LGBTQIA+ healthcare in the journal Medical Education in 2020.