JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dental School Administrators' Attitudes Towards Providing Support Services for LGBT-Identified Students

Linda S Behar-Horenstein, Dustin R Morris
Journal of Dental Education 2015, 79 (8): 965-70
26246536
A lack of curriculum time devoted to teaching dental students about the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) health care patient needs and biases against LGBT students and faculty have been reported. Understanding dental school administrators' attitudes about LGBT students' needs might provide further insight into these long-standing issues. The aims of this study were to develop a survey to assess dental administrators' attitudes regarding the support services they believe LGBT-identified students need, to identify dental schools' current diversity inclusion policies, and to determine what types of support dental schools currently provide to LGBT students. A survey developed with the aid of a focus group, cognitive interviewing, and pilot testing was sent to 136 assistant and associate deans and deans of the 65 U.S. and Canadian dental schools. A total of 54 responses from 43 (66%) schools were received from 13 deans, 29 associate deans, and 11 assistant deans (one participant did not report a position), for a 40% response rate. The findings suggest there is a considerable lack of knowledge or acknowledgment of LGBT dental students' needs. Future studies are needed to show the importance of creating awareness about meeting the needs of all dental student groups, perhaps through awareness campaigns initiated by LGBT students.

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