MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has been selected as the first site for a program aimed at helping doctors better understand the needs of LGBTQ+ patients.
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A total of $750,000 in funding over four years from the American Medical Association Foundation will establish an advanced fellowship clinical training program for early-career physicians in primary care – who are “first-contact” doctors for their patients’ medical needs – in ways to optimize the health of LGBTQ+ patients.
The ultimate goal of the National LGBTQ+ Fellowship Program is to ensure that all LGBTQ+ patients receive the highest standards of care, according to Dr. Elizabeth Petty, principal investigator and program director for the interdisciplinary fellowship program.
“This funding provides a very exciting and critically important opportunity to integrate primary care and public health in highly innovative ways that will significantly accelerate needed change to optimize the health of LGBTQ+ and gender expansive individuals,” she said.
The first fellow will be recruited to begin their year-long training in July 2022. Fellows will have opportunities to extend their training beyond one year to do additional scholarship to advance LGBTQ+ health equity. The program will accept one fellow each year, with a goal of recruiting three fellows per year annually by the fifth year.
Physician fellows will undergo clinical and classroom training in LGBTQ+ health care and will engage in research, teaching, mentoring, community collaborative partnership efforts and other scholarly endeavors.
Several studies show that LGBTQ+ individuals experience higher rates of depression, increased suicide risk and reduced access to appropriate and timely preventative health care for chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
“The program’s focus is to train the next generation of physicians to provide high-quality, evidence-based, affirming patient-centered care to urgently address these disparities and to optimize health outcomes,” Petty said.
The program will be housed in the school’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.