LGBT Forum Attracts 200 Interprofessional Health Students

UCSF's Annual Forum Focuses on Health Concerns


Student organizers helped ensure the success of UCSF's fourth annual LGBT health forum, which attracted 200 students from the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy as well as physical therapy.

For the fourth consecutive year, the UCSF Center for LGBT Health & Equity convened a health forum, attracting 200 interprofessional health students for two days of education about the long-overlooked health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGTBQI) people.

The 2012 forum held earlier this month highlighted two major developments in LGBT health since the 2011 meeting: the publication of an Institute of Medicine report on LGBT health concerns and the release of a groundbreaking “Field Guide” to best practices in LGBT patient-centered care by the Joint Commission, the accrediting body for the nation’s hospitals.

Darin Latimore, MD

Darin Latimore, MD

“Attention to LGBT health has skyrocketed since we held the first forum in 2009,” said Shane Snowdon, director of the UCSF Center for LGBT Health & Equity, which has convened the forum annually and served as project adviser for the Joint Commission’s LGBT Field Guide. “That’s no coincidence: UCSF has been a national leader in highlighting LGBT health needs and educating health professionals about them.”

This year’s forum, planned in conjunction with the UCSF LGBTQ Student Association, featured the UC premiere of “Gen Silent,” a powerful film about the challenges faced by LGBT elders. “The generation that fought hardest to come out is going back in . . . to survive,”  the film states.

A screening of the film, which moved many viewers to tears, was followed by a question-and-answer sessions with Seth Kilbourn, director of Openhouse, the non-profit that serves LGBT seniors in San Francisco.

The forum featured multiple workshops on LGBT health topics, a panel of LGBTQI patients speaking candidly about their health care experiences, and keynotes by Snowdon, noted sex educator Carol Queen, and Darin Latimore, MD, assistant dean for Student & Resident Diversity at UC Davis School of Medicine.

Latimore also participated in a well-attended panel of health professionals discussing their individual journeys as “out” practitioners.

Nominations Sought for LGBT Awards

The campus community is encouraged to nominate colleagues for the Chancellor’s Award for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Leadership in recognition of their exceptional leadership efforts and contributions to the advancement of GLBT people and communities that help make UCSF an exemplary institution.

Nominations are currently being accepted and are due in electronic or hard copy by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 to Committees Coordinator Suya Colorado-Caldwell at either suya.colorado-caldwell@ucsf.edu or to the Office of the Chancellor, S 24, Box 0402. A flyer is available for additional publicity and for those who do not have ready access to a computer.

Students from UCSF’s schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy and physical therapy were joined by students from other institutions at the sold-out event, which offered elective credit. Evaluations of the forum were overwhelmingly positive, with many attendees indicating that it had significantly heightened their awareness of LGBT concerns in health care and beyond.

Many attendees shared the sentiments of a student who said, “I never really thought about whether my friends’ sexual orientation was important with respect to run-of-the-mill conversations, and I didn’t realize there were significant health implications associated with their sexuality. I think I’ll be asking more questions to encourage disclosure when I’m providing health care. Additionally, I think I’ll make fewer assumptions about other people, including my friend and family.”

Attendees also expressed appreciation for the attention paid to transgender health needs at the forum. “I feel more comfortable working with LGBTQI patients now, and have greatly improved knowledge about transgender health issues," said an attendee. "I wish this forum was required for all students!”

Snowdon, who lectures on LGBTQI health in all of UCSF’s schools, notes that forum attendance has quadrupled since 2009, reflecting students’ intensifying interest in the subject. “When I became LGBT director in 1999, we could only dream of selling out a 200-student forum. I give our busy students tremendous credit for spending a weekend learning about LGBT health needs — their interest means a lot.”

Related Links:

UCSF Center for LGBT Health & Equity

Joint Commission Field Guide

IOM LGBT report