The University of Louisville shared its pioneering work in educating health professionals to provide quality health care to LGBTQ patients with faculty at Harvard Medical School in Boston last month. In New York, the university also received a national leadership award for workforce development for the same work on May 3.
Earlier this year, UofL published The eQuality Toolkit, a clinical skills training manual to help others develop the specific clinical skills needed to provide high quality care to LGBTQ patients.
At the Seventh Annual National LGBT Health Workforce Conference, held last week in New York, UofL received the Organization Leadership Award from Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP), an organization founded in 2008 to cultivate a more diverse workforce in academic medicine. The award highlights commitment, scholarship and dedication to the development of a health workforce that is responsive to the unique health issues and disparities of LGBT communities. Previous winners are Penn Medicine and the University of Rochester Medical Center.
A week prior, leaders from UofL’s eQuality program presented grand rounds to faculty at the Harvard Medical School Academy on incorporating training for the care of LGBTQ patients into the medical school curriculum. Amy Holthouser, MD, senior associate dean for medical education, Susan Sawning, MSSW, director of medical education research, and UofL School of Medicine alumni Rhiannon Ledgerwood, MD, and Adam Neff, MD, presented “Lessons from eQuality at University of Louisville: Successful collaborations for integrating sexual and gender minority health into medical education.”
David Hirsh, MD, director of the Academy at Harvard Medical School, said the presentation from Holthouser and Sawning inspired the participants, who are planning to launch a similar program at Harvard.
“I was so moved by your advocacy and accomplishments and so taken by your style and grace, strength and conviction, wisdom and humility,” Hirsh said of the UofL group. “The grand rounds made an enormous difference. We will be speaking about it for a long time to come. I am so grateful to learn from you and to have been present for such an important and transformative launch.”
Beginning in 2014, UofL served as the pilot program for the development of curriculum to incorporate competencies published by the Association of American Medical Colleges related to provision of care for LGBT individuals and other sexual and gender minorities (SGM). Through the eQuality program, information related to care for SGM patients was embedded throughout the curriculum studied by all students in the UofL School of Medicine.
Jennifer Potter, MD, professor of medicine and advisory dean and director of William Bosworth Castle Society at Harvard Medical School, invited the UofL team to The Academy at Harvard Medical School, which is responsible for professional development of faculty who teach in the MD program.
“You care about the fact that SGM people experience health inequities,” Potter said of the UofL presenters. “You talk with your colleagues and students about the fact that these inequities are unacceptable. Then you go one step further – you actually take action to address the inequities with sheer grace, humility, positivity, a sense of humor and brilliance … and in true collaboration with your local SGM community.”
“It is so rewarding to see the work that has been done here at UofL to improve health care for LGBT patients is valued by an institution as highly respected as Harvard,” said Toni Ganzel, MD, MBA, dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “In addition, it is an honor to receive a national award from a well-respected organization such as BNGAP. We are pleased to be able to share this knowledge with educators and influencers throughout the United States.”
The eQuality Toolkit, published with funding from the National Institute of Health Care Management Foundation, is available to all health professionals at no charge to enhance competency nationwide in caring for LGBTQ patients.