Diversity Fellow Project, Cyrus Hajiran

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LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Third Year Medical Students on the Family Medicine Clerkship

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Third Year Medical Students on the Family Medicine Clerkship [download PDF]

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Project Narrative

1. Please describe your activities during your fellowship experience. Describe your final capstone project(s).
During my Fellowship experience I participated in a variety of clinics/observations at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities and West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine, took part in a variety of Disability and Diversity related trainings, spent time volunteering at our local free health-care clinic, and designed a capstone project that will continue to evolve throughout my post-doctoral training as a resident at WVU Medicine.

My capstone project is titled LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Third Year Medical Students on the Family Medicine Clerkship. Its purpose is to increase participant knowledge and understanding to promote positive, culturally competent attitudes and behaviors towards LGBTQ patients. The training session is structured as a one-and-a-half-hour interactive didactic session with an audience response system followed by a one-and-a-half-hour simulation center session with standardized patient encounters and debriefings. In addition to this training session which serves as an individual, patient-provider based approach to achieving LGBTQ patient care cultural competency, we are currently collaborating with the WVU Medicine Department of Human Resources to enroll Ruby Memorial Hospital in the 2019 Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index. This is a national LGBTQ benchmarking tool used to evaluate healthcare facility policies and practices related to equity and inclusion of LGBTQ patients.

2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
A study in the 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association consisting of a survey of medical education deans across the United States and Canada showed a median of five hours devoted to LGBTQ care in medical school curricula. Curriculum mapping of the West Virginia University School of Medicine shows that it sits at the national average—it has five dedicated hours. My capstone project will add an additional three hours dedicated to LGBTQ medical curriculum at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. The goals of the session are to increase knowledge about LGBTQ healthcare needs, increase LGBTQ- affirming attitude, and increase LGBTQ affirming behavior. Pre-and post-session assessments will be used in order to both ensure participant achievement of training goals and objectives and improve and refine future trainings

3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
When compared to straight, cisgender individuals, LGBTQ individuals experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, substance use disorders, obesity, cardiovascular disease, HIV, and AIDS, among other disparities. In the current literature, the aforementioned health disparities within LGBTQ community have been described as consequences of emotional and/or behavioral responses in an effort to minimize the impact of the following stressors: emotional, verbal, and/or physical trauma in the context of societal, interpersonal, and/or individual stigma.

4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?
My educational and volunteering experiences as a Health Professional Diversity and Disability fellow have equipped me with the knowledge to make a difference both in LGBTQ cultural competency and in the disability community as a Family Medicine physician. The scope of Family Medicine is all-inclusive—it includes all ages, sexes, and organ systems. My goal as a physician will be to help overcome the personal and environmental factors that limit the quality of life for patients with disabilities.

5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
I’ve gained insight into the barriers that both people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community face in obtaining quality health care that subsequently lead to a higher incidence of health disparities. Barriers to quality care are due largely due to a lack of provider education specific to the disability community and LGBTQ community. This experience has motivated me to take part in medical education to reinforce the importance of education specific to the disability community and LGBTQ community in medical school curricula.

6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
After my three years of residency training, my future goals are to join the WVU Department of Family Medicine faculty as an attending physician. As a practicing physician, I aspire both to continue to apply what I’ve learned from this experience when serving patients and to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained to the peers and students that I work with in the future.

7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
Invest your energy into a capstone project that you are passionate about and potentially can carry on past the conclusion of your Fellowship experience.

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