Survey of curriculum on homosexuality/bisexuality in departments of family medicine

C M Tesar, S L Rovi
Family Medicine 1998, 30 (4): 283-7

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study assesses what US departments of family medicine are doing to teach undergraduate medical students about homosexuality/bisexuality and the care of gay, lesbian, and bisexual patients.

METHODS: A two-page, 14-item, self-administered questionnaire was sent to predoctoral directors at all US medical schools with departments of family medicine (n = 116). The questionnaire asked about teaching methods and curriculum hours, whether other departments address the topic, and if there is a gay/lesbian/bisexual student group at the medical school.

RESULTS: Of the 116 predoctoral directors surveyed, 95 (82%) responded. The mean number of departmental curriculum hours devoted to this topic was 2.5 hours for all 4 years of undergraduate medical school. About half (50.6%) of respondents reported that their department spent zero hours teaching about homosexuality/bisexuality. There were no differences in time spent by geographic region, size of school, or between public and private institutions. The most frequently cited teaching method was lectures in medical ethics, followed closely by lectures in human sexuality.

CONCLUSIONS: About half of the responding family medicine departments did not include this topic in their curricula. Homosexuality/bisexuality should be included in family medicine's curriculum to ensure that future primary care physicians can properly care for all of their patients. Recommendations for curriculum modifications are provided.

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