Shifting the quality of LGBTQ health care across the country
As the philanthropic arm of the world’s largest physician organization, the AMA Foundation is uniquely positioned to address several of our country’s most pervasive health care challenges.
Since 1950 the AMA Foundation has been a leader in health care philanthropy with programs that advance public health and medical education. Through our mission of bringing together physicians and communities to improve our nation’s health, the AMA Foundation is dedicated to giving back to medical leaders and organizations committed to serving their communities and at-risk patient populations.
In seeking to dramatically reshape the future of LGBTQ health, the American Medical Association Foundation, in partnership with medical and osteopathic-granting educational institutions, is forming a national cohort of LGBTQ health specialists who will promote best practices and shared outcomes through its new LGBTQ Fellowship Program.
This one-year program will develop a cadre of physicians to address the specific health care needs of the LGBTQ community and help relieve the current shortage of providers who are knowledgeable and culturally competent in LGBTQ health—a key social determinant of health affecting this underserved population.
1 / 2Hear it from them
Erik Eiting, MD
2 / 2Hear it from them
The LGBTQ fellowship cohort provides a transformative opportunity to:
Increase cultural and clinical competence amongst physicians in LGBTQ health
Build capacity of LGBTQ health services sector to better identify and address the unique health needs of the LGBTQ community, such as the effects of anesthesia on transgender patients undergoing transition surgery due to medications
Improve basic quality of life (health and well-being) of LGBTQ communities
Understand and address social determinants of health faced by this community through the promotion of research and supporting the dissemination of research findings across mediums such as medical journals
Provide safe entry point to link individuals to broader health and wellness services
The Time is Now
Why is the AMAF focused on this?
On the surface, the shortage of health care providers who are fully equipped to care for sexual and gender minorities underscores an immediate need for a national fellowship program.2 However, a closer look reveals an additional challenge—the funding problem faced by graduate medical education (GME) today. Since 1997, federal funding for GME positions has been capped at 1996 levels. In addition to this cap, sexual and gender minorities face high rates of stigma and discrimination that ultimately prevent visits to health care professionals altogether. 3
Together, these issues prompted the AMA Foundation to act by investing in and developing alternative funding sources to improve care for this high-need population. While researchers continue to expand and build a more solid evidence base for LGBTQ health concerns, mainstream media continues to report on the following staggering disparities faced by sexual and gender minorities:
• Transgender people are eight times more likely to report a suicide attempt in their life relative to cisgender people.4
• Policies that permit the denial of services to LGBT people are linked to a 46% increase in the proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults who report mental distress.5
• LGBT seniors are more likely to have poor general health, more chronic conditions, higher rates of disability and more psychological distress. 6
• Lesbian and bisexual older women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and are more likely than heterosexual women to have multiple chronic conditions. 6
• Bisexual and transgender adults are more likely to live in poverty, which heightens their risk for health care disparities and poor health.4
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014
3. Forum: How Discrimination Damages Health in LGBTQ Communities, NPR, 2018
4. GLMA, 2018
5. Association of State Laws Permitting Denial of Services to Same-Sex Couples with Mental Distress in Sexual Minority Adults, JAMA Network, 2018
6. Assessment of Internal Medicine Resident Preparedness to Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Patients, J Gen Intern Med, 2019
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