03 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

All Perspectives Required: Practice Makes Progress

Author: admin

Part III

(This is the third installment in Healthier LGBT Populations – A Call for Perspective and Patience. Read Parts I and II.)


“While we talk about the importance of practicing evidence-based medicine, the reality is that medical science is still very much an art. This is particularly true when caring for sexual minorities, since few population-based studies have been done to document health disparities, yet stories of difficulties connecting with a caring clinician are legion.” – Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, (Makadon, H.J., Mayer, K.H., Potter, J., & Goldhammer, H., 2007, p. XV)

Schools of health professionals have a great responsibility to instill culturally sensitive, appropriate and relevant approaches to patient care for LGBT populations now more than ever. Daunting questions that will remain on the minds of health provider and patient alike include: Where do I begin this conversation? What if their not comfortable with my questions? Should I wait for a better time to ask?

Like all phenomenal changes that evolve, such changes take a great deal of time. The architecture of animals and plants did not appear as such in a day. Societal, cultural and political evolutions are no different. Subtle changes are happening all of the time. The evolution of the approach to LGBT patient care will continue to change and improve as naturally as any other progress driven by human collaboration and ingenuity.

We will continue to witness our accelerating health care system undergo a metamorphosis for all patient populations through a growing body of research. As these changes occur, we need to keep a very important point at the forefront if we are to succeed in the science and the art of medicine. Each patient is a human; a blend of health, culture, lifestyle, preference, state of mind, and perspective. If health providers are going to succeed at addressing the complex form of every individual, they must exercise patience, uninhibited interest and open-mindedness. They must do so by encouraging the patient to teach them about their experience of health and expectations for improved well-being. When this happens, the patient and provider can begin to find common ground to cultivate a healthy, long-term and continuous health care relationship and make real, effective progress; from both perspectives.

Reference:

Makadon HJ, Mayer KH, Potter J, Goldhammer H. (Eds.).The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health (p. XV). Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians; 2007.

About the Author:

Nicole Lighthouse is a Marriage and Family Therapist with a research background in preventive medicine and mental health. She is a graduate student in Biomedical Sciences at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Still University. Her career interests include family medicine and research in community and preventive medicine.

The opinions and views expressed in this blog and/or comments are those of the author(s) and do not reflect any position of the Center or the University.

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