Medical Student Conducting Research to Improve LGBTQ Health Education at NOSM
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Disclosing sexual orientation is often a difficult part of seeking medical treatment for people who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer). Many members of the LGBTQ community report negative experiences when coming out to their health-care provider.
According to Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) second-year medical student Cara Collins and her research supervisor Dr. Stacey Ritz, small changes in medical practice can make a big difference.
Originally from North Bay, Collins is a recipient of NOSM Dean's Summer Medical Student Research Awards - a grant awarded to NOSM medical students to encourage interest and involvement in scholarly activity. As a result of the award, Collins is able to dedicate her summer to attitudes and beliefs of NOSM learners, residents, and faculty, while also undertaking an analysis of NOSM curriculum on the topic.
During her preliminary research for her project entitled "Improving LGBTQ Health Education at NOSM," Collins has found that patients who feel unable to disclose their sexual orientation to their health-care provider often have poorer health outcomes.
"The support networks for people who identify as LGBTQ are often much smaller and less visible in Northern Ontario," said Collins. "Many members of the LGBTQ community in rural and remote areas migrate to urban areas to get the support that they need. Hopefully, we can help provide northern health-care professionals with the tools they need to provide care appropriately so LGBTQ people in the North don't feel as isolated."
Collins is looking forward to working on her research project with the hope of contributing to curriculum development at NOSM, while also providing feedback to NOSM students, residents, and faculty regarding ways to improve patient care.
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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research.