LGBT Medical Education Research Group

About the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Medical Education Research Group

Our FOUNDATION

MISSION: To be a significant contributor to the field of LGBT health by creating and communicating newknowledge through innovating research, by influencing health and educational policies, and by advocating for LGBT patients and providers.

VISION: A world in which all LGBT people have optimal health and well-being.

CORE VALUES: Members of LGBT MERG share values of collaboration, equality, integrity, mutual respect, professional development, self-education, and transparency. They hold their projects and fellow members to the highest standards of efficacy, originality, quality, and sustainability while promoting LGBT health.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Medical Education Research Group (LGBT MERG) was founded in October 2007 by four students at Stanford University School of Medicine: Elizabeth Goldsmith, Mitchell R. Lunn, Juno Obedin-Maliver, and Leslie Stewart. The students formed the group after attending the 25th Annual Conference of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), where they discovered that little research exists on LGBT content of medical curricula and on medical students’ skills and knowledge relating to care for LGBT patients.

A metropolitan New York medical school found that medical students’ greater clinical exposure to LGBT patients correlated with more comprehensive history-taking, more positive attitudes toward LGBT patients, and greater knowledge of LGBT health care concerns (Sanchez et al., 2006). The authors noted sufficient “disagreement and confusion on several LGBT health concerns to merit clarification through curricular modifications” and called for more research on medical students’ clinical exposure to and competency in caring for LGBT patients (Sanchez et al., 2006).

Researchers at Louisiana State University School of Medicine found that after hearing a panel of gay and lesbian physicians and a mother of a lesbian, first year students as a whole scored a lower homophobic rating on an survey compared than before the panel (Wallick et al., 1995).

In 1992, a study sought to survey all of the 126 medical schools accredited at the time. Of those 126 institutions, 82 schools responded to the survey and the average amount of time “devoted to the topic of homosexuality” was 3 hours and 26 minutes. The most common method of instruction was lectures in human sexuality, and much less frequently, panel presentations (Wallick et al., 1992).

Comprehensive research is lacking on the current state of LGBT-related content in undergraduate medical curricula. Similarly, the extent to which medical students feel prepared and comfortable providing care to LGBT patients is currently unknown. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Medical Education Research Group (LGBT MERG) seeks to address this lack of research through its surveys of deans and students at M.D.- and D.O.-granting institutions in the United States and Canada. LGBT MERG is concomitantly engaged in additional studies such as the LGBT Health Stories project. It is our hope that the results of our research will contribute to improvements in LGBT-related curricula, enhancement of provider competencies in caring for LGBT patients, and reductions in the health disparities we see in LGBT patient populations.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Medical Education Research Group (LGBT MERG) at Stanford University School of Medicine works to be a significant contributor to the field of LGBT health by creating and communicating new knowledge though innovative research, by influencing health and educational policies, and by advocating for LGBT patients and providers.

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