Tuesday, March 21, 2006


It's that surprising time of year. Those of you involved in any organization know what I mean: the time of year when the current leaders are looking forward and moving on, and those of us who up until this point have been working in the wings step up and take the lead. I say it's surprising because, at least in medical school, it kind of sneaks up in the middle of the year. The M2s are finished with classes now, and are officially off studying for boards, but we (the M1s) still have about two months of school left. It's surprising because some of the current leadership is actually disappearing somewhat abruptly and going home for 6 weeks to study. Others are still planning to stay in Ann Arbor, but will be cloistered in their apartments, the library, and possibly the LRC until the board exams. But surprising or no, it's an exciting time. As I'm taking on the "coordinator" position for BGLAM (Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, and Allies in Medicine), I'm reflecting on what we've done this year, and what we have yet to accomplish.

September: The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) Annual Conference in Montreal was a great start to the year. Apart from having to defer my first ever anatomy practical exam, it was great, and the exam went well enough. I met other LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) identified medical students from all over the country, and was impressed that Michigan had the largest representation (eight of us attended at least some portion of the conference). I saw some great speakers, met people in workshops, and also got to know a few of my fellow UM med students a little bit better. I came back excited about what had been done in previous years (BGLAM actually got an award for the work that was done before I arrived!), and eager to work on other exciting projects.

October: We put together a panel of LGBTQ-identified medical students to speak and take questions over lunch. It was a little crazy to put myself out there in front of so many people that I was just getting to know, but I think it was a good experience. Lots of good questions.

February: BGLAM sponsored a day during the Minority Health Symposium. After discovering how busy everyone who works in health-related fields is, we finally found a great set of speakers. We had a panel from the HIV/AIDS Resource Center of their Director of Prevention Services, a case worker, and a member of one of their support groups. They had amazing things to say about substance abuse, HIV, and the LGBT community.

March: LGBT Health Awareness was a fantastic week of LGBT-related programming. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Nick Gorton, spoke about transgender healthcare. He gave an amazing overview of the nuts and bolts of trans healthcare! We also had a panel from the Lesbian Moms Network, a local group of families. They offered lots of suggestions for us as future physicians, as well as a unique perspective on forming families. Finally Dr. Jennifer Myers presented a discussion of creating an LGBT-friendly practice. We brainstormed ideas to make our practices as open and welcoming as possible, and her ideas helped to lead the conversation.

Now: I'm about to head to the AMSA National Convention to run for an Associate Coordinator Position within LGBTPM (LGBT People in Medicine, our AMSA-affiliated subtitle). Liz, an M3, is currently one of the national coordinators, and I'm excited to work more closely with her.

April: My first real undertaking as the new coordinator for BGLAM will be an event in April. We’re flying out Ben Singer to talk about culturally competent transgender healthcare, and give a talk on the generation of images of transgendered individuals both within the medical community and outside. I’m really excited about the event, and by the broad co-sponsorship (the Women’s Studies, Sociology, Anthropology departments, several undergrad LGBT organizations, and the student government are all on the list!). So that’s what the picture is: me working hard at organizing for BGLAM. Wish me luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment