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  • sdadmin
    February 21, 2019 at 6:01 pm #2383
    1. WHEREAS, the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) does not have a committee
    2. committed to investigating and addressing the health disparities of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
    3. Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQ+) community; and
    4. WHEREAS, the LGBTQ+ community has a unique set of health disparities and health
    5. outcomes that are separate and distinct from the general population, qualifying it as an
    6. underserved community1; and
    7. WHEREAS, an integral component of the osteopathic tradition is to take care of a whole person
    8. – “the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit” – and allocating the resources necessary to treat
    9. and care for the LGBTQ+ community exemplifies this philosophy2; and
    10. WHEREAS, the American Student Medical Association (AMSA) has developed a Gender &
    11. Sexuality Action committee “dedicated to combating sexism and heterosexism, and to assuring
    12. equal access to medical care and equality within medical education” and the creation of an
    13. analogous committee within SOMA would show determination for genuine care for the
    14. LGBTQ+ community to the community, medical students and faculty, providers and the general
    15. population3; and
    16. WHEREAS, there is only 5 hours of medical education, on average, devoted to the LGBTQ+
    17. community across allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the United States and Canada4;
    18. and
    20. WHEREAS, osteopathic teaching institutions lag behind allopathic counterparts when it comes
    21. to clinical education relating to the LGBTQ+ community5; therefore, be it
    22. RESOLVED, that SOMA will create an advisory committee, including a chair position,
    23. committed to addressing LGBTQ+ health disparities and gender inequality, and encourage
    24. formation of chapters at osteopathic medical schools.


    1. United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (2013). Improving Data Collection for the LGBT Community. Retrieved from: https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=57
    2. American Osteopathic Association (2019). Explore the philosophy behind the practice of osteopathic medicine. Retrieved from: https://osteopathic.org/about/leadership/aoa-governance-documents/tenets-of-osteopathic-medicine/
    3. American Medical Student Association (2018). Gender & Sexuality Action Committee. Retrieved from: https://www.amsa.org/advocacy/action-committees/gender-sexuality/
    4. Journal of the American Medical Association (2011). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender–Related Content in Undergraduate Medical Education. Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1104294
    5. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (2014). Improving Osteopathic Medical Training in Providing Health Care to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients. Retrieved from: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2102036

    Submitted by:
    Demetri Tsiolkas, OMSII – Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Carolinas
    Jessica Tice, OMSII – Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Carolinas

    Action Taken:

    Effective Time Period:

  1. Nasir Malim, OMS IV
    February 24, 2019 at 10:25 am #2408

    The resolution brings up an important topic and I am in strong agreement that our current osteopathic education formally does little to nothing on investigating and addressing the health disparities of LGBTQ+ populations, just as it does little to investigate and address other forms of health disparities. My concern in creating a specific chair position for LGBTQ+ health disparities is that the role is currently already encompassed within the Health Disparities directorship and cultural and health disparities chairs at individual chapters. As evidenced within the curriculum of the social medicine program in SOMA run by the Health Disparities Director, there already exist resources committed toward teaching and addressing LGBTQ+ health disparities, though this is definitely an area that needs expansion and the right group of people working in collaboration.

    The AMSA model of action committees splits the topics of Gender and Sexuality and Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, both of which are currently encompassed by the Health Disparities position. That is certainly a legitimate approach to addressing health disparities, however even if SOMA took up a similar model, there would still be gaps in health disparities directed toward environmental health disparities, or socioeconomic health disparities for example. In fact, the nature of many health disparities is that they are highly intersectional, it is impossible to designate many disparities as fitting neatly into one subcategory as many facets of identity come into play in shaping the disparity to begin with. For example in the case of a Black trans individual, it is difficult to attribute subsequent health disparities as simply race/ethnicity in nature, when in reality it is that in additional to trans health, and economic disparities. In this way there are certainly advantages in maintaining a single health disparities position that can account for a broader multifaceted approach. Perhaps even a designated position for LGBTQ+ health on the health disparities task force, which could subsequently be commissioned as a standing committee, may be a better way to address any shortcomings that currently exist without further complicating the organizational infrastructure.