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Combating Homophobia in Medicine

Combating Homophobia in Medicine


Health care professionals are becoming increasingly attuned to the needs and concerns of LGBT patients. But The New York Times ponders: What about support for LGBT doctors and nurses?

Creating a culture where health care professionals are attuned to the needs and concerns of LGBT patients is a central tenet of the health care reform law (and one not subject to a Supreme Court ruling).

But support for the doctors and nurses who are LGBT themselves is another matter, and one historically overlooked, writes Pauline Chen on The New York Times' Doctor and Patient blog:

In a recent issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics, Dr. Mark A. Schuster, head of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, lays bare the experience of being gay in medicine and the constant struggle to "choose between being a doctor and being openly gay." The prose is riveting, but it is also difficult to read. For it delivers unflinching, evenhanded descriptions of a profession that is committed to helping others, yet is also capable of treating some of its own as aberrant.

Dr. Schuster describes being a medical student at Harvard in the 1980s, searching for guidance at a time when discussions on gay health were sandwiched between lectures on prostitutes and drug addicts. He hears about high-ranking medical school faculty members who actively block job or residency applicants they suspect to be gay.

Here, Schuster's commentary "On Being Gay in Medicine" in the March-April issue of Academic Pediatrics.

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