Guest speakers and workshops educate future health practitioners about the unique needs of the LGBTQIA population.
October was LGBT History Month, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) marked the occasion with a series of events designed to educate future health practitioners about the unique needs of the LGBTQIA population and create a more inclusive campus environment for that population.
On October 2, the Office of Diversity and Community Relations, the LGBTQ Alliance of Students Organized for Health (LASOH) and the Wisely Surgical Association hosted a lecture with Sherman Leis, DO ’67, chair of plastic and reconstructive surgery and a renowned leader in the field of gender confirmation surgery. Dr. Leis, who founded the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, shared his lifetime of experiences working with the transgender community.
To recognize National Coming Out Day on October 11, the Office of Diversity and Community Relations and the LGBTQIA Council held a launch event for the College’s new PCOM Safe program, which will train individuals to provide a safe environment for LGBTQIA individuals and allies on campus. PCOM Safe training began October 18 on the Suwanee campus and October 19 on the Philadelphia campus.
The month concluded with the recording of the first episode in an online lecture series, funded and moderated by transgender health advocate Anne Koch, DMD, which focuses on transgender medicine. The first session, recorded October 22 and titled “Creating a Welcoming Environment for Transgender Patients,” featured a discussion between Dr. Koch and Rachel Levine, MD, state secretary of health and the first transgender woman to serve as Pennsylvania’s surgeon general.
From their lived experiences as transgender women, the two medical professionals discussed topics related to creating an inclusive clinical practice, an overview of terminology, preferred pronouns and LGBT culturally responsive intake forms.
Three additional lectures will be recorded in the coming months for the online series, which is available for free to the public. All recordings will be housed on the Office of Diversity and Community Relations programs webpage.
“The LGBT population have very unique health needs, and that requires cultural competency on the part of their healthcare providers,” said Marcine Pickron-Davis, PhD, chief diversity and community relations officer. “Diversity isn’t just about gender or race—it’s about hearing voices from all members of the community, and events like the ones we’ve held for LGBT History Month help create a dialogue. They help current and future practitioners to break down assumptions and biases, so that they can provide the best possible care to all of their patients.”
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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