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Faculty, students honored for LGBTQI curriculum innovation

March 29, 2017

Two faculty members and two students at the School of Medicine have been awarded the Innovation in Medical Education Award from the Northeast Group on Educational Affairs (NEGEA) for a project to incorporate LGBTQI-health related content through the medical school curriculum.

The award will be presented May 6 at the NEGEA Education Meeting in Rochester, N.Y. It includes a $3,000 stipend to be applied at the award recipients’ discretion for continued improvement in medical education.

The group includes John A. Encandela, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, and associate director for curriculum and educator assessment at the Teaching and Learning Center; Michael L. Schwartz, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience, director of medical studies in neurobiology, and associate dean for curriculum; Nicole A. Sitkin, a third-year medical student and chair of the Dean's Advisory Council for LGBTQI+ Affairs; and first-year medical student Michael Solotke.

The award-winning innovation was titled, “Strategy for Assessing Need and Developing a Topical Curricular Thread Addressing Sexual and Gender Minority Health.” The writers developed a process to assess the need and to gain institutional support for a curriculum that focuses on providing healthcare to specific patient populations, such as people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI).

They said sexual and gender minority health did not receive enough attention in their medical school curriculum.

“Our project demonstrates a strategy for assessing ‘local’ medical school need for sexual and gender minority health (SGMH) curriculum, as well as nurturing the process of adoption and institutionalization of such curriculum at a time when educators are expected to fit in curricular content covering more topics in less time,” the authors wrote.

The first new curriculum components were implemented at the medical school in fall 2015, and more are planned. The writers reported that faculty and student feedback has been “predominantly positive,” and that there is “high evidence of buy-in and satisfaction with implementation by faculty.”

“Students overwhelmingly believe that content is relative to their ability to serve sexual and gender minority patients and state appreciation for inclusion of components,” they wrote. “They are largely satisfied with the quality of learning activities, but do make recommendations for improvements and other enhancements in future iterations.”

The NEGEA is one of four regional groups of the Association of American Medical College's Group on Educational Affairs (GEA). The group’s purpose is to promote excellence in the education of medical students, residents, and physicians through the professional development of medical educators.

Submitted by John Curtis on March 29, 2017