diagnostics-161140_1280The Association of American Medical Colleges released today, Nov. 18, the first guidelines for training physicians to care for LGBT or gender nonconforming patients.

Until now, according to a press release, there have been no formal comprehensive standards to help medical schools and health care organizations train providers in the needs of LGBT patients.

“This groundbreaking publication represents a major step forward in giving medical schools, teaching hospitals, and health systems a roadmap for improving the care of LGBT and other individuals with differences in gender identity, gender expression, and sex development,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC president and CEO, which represents all 141 accredited US and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools.

As we’ve reported, the LGBT community often experiences challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals, and emergency rooms. Challenges range from lack of protocol to knowledge of LGBT issues. The executive summary describes a sample of barriers many LGBT people face, including “significant structural, interpersonal, and individual stigma concerning homosexuality persists; efforts to ‘treat’ homosexuality through so-called ‘reparative therapies’ continue in some areas, even though most professional organizations recognize them as harmful to patients.”

“Physicians and medical school faculty members are committed to treating all patients equally, yet research shows that everyone has unconscious biases that can affect how we interact with people from different experiences and backgrounds,” said Kirch. “This new resource will help train physicians to overcome these blind spots and deliver high-quality care to all patients.”