In the summer of 2018, medical student Sara Garcia-Dehborzogi interned at OutCare Health. She will share information about her work with OutCare Health during the upcoming LGBTQ Healthcare conference from March 21-22. In this interview, she shares how that experience impacted her, and how the LGBTQ Healthcare conference can inspire and encourage other allied health providers and providers in-training.
What is OutCare Health?
OutCare Health is a non-profit that was created by medical students at Indiana University School of Medicine to unify health equity for LGBTQ populations in all states. The organization works to identify and connect LGTBQ patients with culturally-competent providers, conduct needs assessments of accessible healthcare and educate the next generation of healthcare providers.
Medical student, Sara Garcia-Dehborzogi
What did you do this summer?
During my internship, I built up OutCare’s database of LGBTQ friendly providers, identifying and cataloging LGBTQ-friendly resources nationwide. I looked for tangible things that anyone in the LGBTQ community or an ally could use. For example, I’m from California. So, one of my goals was to look through the California database system to outline resources available in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. In cities with many Spanish speakers, I’d find Latinx LGBTQ resources, then translated and composed short descriptions of each. With OutCare’s exemplary platform in place, it was easy to plug in resources.
What is a unique skill set that you developed or tool that you learned to use during your internship?
I learned to identify different ways of “hearing” peoples’ voices. There were some states where it was easy to find LGBTQ resources and some states where there were just one or two, which was shocking to me. Upon further investigation, I would have to be creative and find other avenues. For example, I would find a blog and read how they coped with being a person in the LBGTQ community in conservative states. It was essential for me to take non-traditional resources and make them accessible to other audiences.
As a medical student, how did your internship experience make you think differently about being a physician?
I have always been an advocate for underserved communities and healthcare justice. There is such a need to transform how we engage with patients. It is imperative that physicians create open lines of communication with patients that acknowledge diversity in lived experiences and identities. These changes can include rethinking how we collect sexual histories, using appropriate gender pronouns and respecting identities. As a future health care provider, I must become more mindful of this, adjust my language, and ask the right questions because I want to make all of my patients feel welcome. It could be the smallest words that impact how patients engage in their healthcare.
Why would you recommend that medical students attend the LGBTQ Healthcare conference?
It is crucial that all students come and expand their knowledge on what LGBTQ resources are out there. Students can also learn about what is NOT there. The LGBTQ community encompasses a substantial percentage of our patient populations. This is an awesome opportunity to learn and network with current healthcare providers. This conference is on campus, so it is the perfect opportunity to join in and learn.
The LGBTQ Healthcare Conference is for allied health providers and providers in training who seek to understand the unique health considerations and barriers to care in the LGBTQ population.
Attendees will learn how to provide respectful, patient-centered, culturally-competent health care by developing skills to establish rapport, recognizing barriers to medical care, offering LGBTQ patients competent primary care and referrals and identifying the unique health risks in the LBGTQ population. Learn more and register for the LGBTQ HealthCare Conference.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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