Earlier this month, HRC Arkansas curated a diverse patient panel for 170 second-year medical students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The panel consisted of Arkansas Transgender Equality board members Krys Stephens and Michelle Palumbo, the Arkansas Department of Health LGBT Liaison, Kevin Holmes, and Part of the Solution Coordinator, Tonya Estell. The presentation was a new addition to the diverse patient curriculum, which aims to expose medical students to the broad variety of patients that may encounter in day-to-day practice.
Panelists afforded audience members a safe space to ask questions regarding their past experiences in healthcare, correct terminology, medically transitioning, pronoun usage and name changes. Estell urged the medical students to see the whole person during treatment, rather than reducing someone from the LGBTQ community to a letter. “There have been times that I sought treatment for one ailment and my physician has tied a totally unrelated medical issue to my sexuality,” she said. The speakers represented a broad array of personal medical histories and experiences as health advocates, including HIV, bipolar disorder, heart disease and leukemia.
UAMS was designated a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality in the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2016 (HEI). The HEI is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates the policies and practices of healthcare facilities as they relate to the equity and inclusion of LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.