COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in dental school environments: dental student leaders' perceptions

Joan I Anderson, April N Patterson, Henry J Temple, Marita Rohr Inglehart
Journal of Dental Education 2009, 73 (1): 105-18
19126771
The objectives of the study reported in this article were to assess dental student leaders' perceptions of educational efforts concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) topics and the cultural climate concerning LGBT issues in dental schools in the United States and Canada. In addition, the perceptions of student leaders who self-identified as belonging to the LGBT community and of students with a heterosexual orientation were compared. Data were collected from 113 dental student leaders from twenty-seven dental schools in the United States and three in Canada. Fifty student leaders were females, and sixty-two were males. Only 13.3 percent of the respondents agreed that their dental education prepared them well to treat patients from LGBT backgrounds. The more the student leaders believed that their university has an honest interest in diversity, the better they felt prepared by their dental school program to treat patients from LGBT backgrounds (r=.327; p<.001). The better they felt prepared, the more they perceived the clinic environment as sensitive and affirming for patients with different sexual orientations (r=.464; p<.001). The more they reported that dental schools' administrations create a positive environment for students with LGBT orientations, the more they agreed that persons can feel comfortable regardless of their sexual orientation (r=.585; p<.001). In conclusion, the findings indicate that dental school administrators play an important role in ensuring that future care providers are well prepared to treat patients from LGBT backgrounds and that staff, faculty, students, and patients from these backgrounds are not discriminated against.

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