Friday, February 25, 2011

Cheers for UMDNJ For Considering LGBT, Poly Needs

A paper from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford urges physicians to examine their practice from the perspective of LGBT and polyamorous patients. Making things more comfortable for these patients will make it more likely they will get the treatments they need. The paper appears in the currently issue of The Health Care Manager.

“LGBT patients can disproportionately experience social and behavioral risk factors that can affect health,” said lead author Dr. Joshua Coren, a family physician at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. “When evaluating these risk factors, physicians need to ask questions nonjudgmentally to avoid causing their LGBT patients to feel scrutinized or even stigmatized.”

Among the authors’ recommendations are changing background information forms by expanding gender identification and relationship preference categories, noting that when only two options are available transgendered patients may struggle to identify their gender or bisexual patients may not be able to accurately describe their polyamorous relationship with men and women. Other recommendations include instructing clerical staff on the use of gender-neutral terminology, training clinical staff on surgical modification procedures, providing at least one unisex bathroom and making LGBT publications available in the waiting room. Physicians should also become knowledgeable about community-based resources, such as LGBT-specific cancer support groups or mental health practitioners.

It is good for the larger community if poly people and LGBT people are getting the health care they need.
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