Strategies to include sexual orientation and gender identity in health professions education
Background. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not taught in African health professions curricula. In order to improve the quality of care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) patients, health professionals need to shift their attitudes towards sexual orientation and gender identity, and learn about specific LGBTI health needs.
Discussion. The curricula of African health professions education provide various opportunities to include teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. Various disciplines can teach sexual orientation and gender identity issues in their context by challenging heteronormativity and highlighting specific LGBTI health concerns, and can do so more successfully with interactive teaching approaches that hold more potential than formalised lectures. Rights-based teaching frameworks should include sexual orientation and gender identity as markers of difference. To achieve this, educators need to build capacity to teach about these issues, and support LGBTI students in their institutions. Conclusion. Teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity is urgently needed in African health professions education, but it is complex. This article presents strategies to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into the curricula of medical schools, nursing colleges, and the allied health sciences.
A Müller, Gender Health and Justice Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
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Date published: 2015-02-23
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