Mapping change in medical student attitudes regarding lesbian, gay and bisexual healthcare
Despite significant social advances among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, healthcare disparities remain prevalent. Medical education represents a prime opportunity for addressing this need. Thus, we undertook this study to explore second year medical students’ attitudes regarding equal access to healthcare services including erectile dysfunction medication, family planning medications and technology, and partner health insurance coverage.
Nearly 1500 allopathic medical students were surveyed from 2006 to 2014 during their second pre-clinical training year. While attitudes regarding care between LGB patients and heterosexual patients were often similar, there was a significant change in favor of providing insurance coverage for in-vitro and assisted reproduction services for lesbian women (increasing from 70% of students in favor in 2008 to 87% of students in 2013). Similarly, the proportion of students in favor of providing health insurance coverage for prescription drugs to same sex partners significantly increased from 2009 to 2013. Additionally, students noted healthcare providers should be required to provide equal access to care for all patients regardless of marital status or sexual practices (96% agreement in 2006 and 98.6% agreement in 2014).
Even with this significant increase in medical student approval of certain healthcare services for LGB patients, continuing to integrate LGBT healthcare topics into medical education curriculum remains critically important.