UNE to host eighth symposium on LGBT health disparities March 23

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients form an invisible minority, creating a special challenge for health care providers. As a result, LGBT-specific medical needs are regrettably often undiagnosed and untreated – but open and frank discussion can help ease these inequities.

This is the spirit of a symposium to be held at the University of New England on Monday, March 23, “LGBT Health Disparities: Social Determinants and the Legacy of Stigma.” The event welcomes Benoit Dube, M.D., B.Sc., associate vice provost and chief wellness officer at the University of Pennsylvania and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, for the eighth year.

James Richard Krebs, B.S., M.S., Pharm.D., assistant dean for Experiential Education and associate clinical professor in the UNE College of Pharmacy (COP), coordinator of the symposium, said the subject matter is “extremely important” for UNE students, as well as all health care providers.

“There is an important need for our students to be provided education on how to be part of the LGBT community and the disparities they encounter,” said Krebs.

The symposium will consist of lectures, small group discussions, and a larger panel discussion including local members of the LGBT community who will discuss their health care experiences – both positive and negative – in Maine.

Krebs said the discussions are intended to expose an interprofessional group of students to the realities faced by LGBT people. The goal, he said, is to better prepare UNE graduates for working with LGBT patients once they enter the health care workforce, either in Maine or elsewhere in the nation.

“The goal is to give students a new perspective: to treat everyone equally, listen to their concerns, and see how you can assist them. There’s probably been a lot of discrimination in their lives,” Krebs said. “We will go over strategies for learning how to work with all patients.”

The symposium will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in 201 Innovation Hall on the University’s Portland Campus. It is free and open to public.

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