Meaningful Conversations in Healthcare – ASME Celebrates Pride

by Dr. Riya E George (she/her)

ASME Pride logo
Dr. Riya George

When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation? The abundance of technology that now saturates our daily lives means we are less likely to have the time for meaningful conversations. Following on from our last ASME communication piece, to celebrate the month of Pride, ASME has created a collection of interesting resources that aim to start and continue meaningful conversations about gender identity and sexuality.

Storytelling is a central feature of these resources, as it harnesses the ability to showcase the diversity of lived experiences that exist. Telling stories is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of communication known and it is often all to easy to forget that behind every person is a story. Stories can be used for introductions and inquiries and can be a great way to make a social connection. Recent literature has attended to the need for a greater sense of connection and community in our healthcare professional lives, particularly for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Bringing our authentic whole-self to work as Mike Robbins 1 explains means ‘we can work better, lead better and be more engaged and fulfilled.’

For those in the LGBTQIA+ community this can present many challenges, in terms of understanding one’s own gender identity and sexuality, coming out to others, sharing about one’s personal life and relationships, having conversations that spark contention and being open and vulnerable.

Meaningful Conversations in Healthcare Channel

Meaningful Conversations in Healthcare is a new channel that I have created collaboratively with Peter McClintock from CBZ Photography that showcases the lived experiences of people in healthcare.

Through conversations and storytelling, it invites debate and change in one’s thinking and perspectives. To celebrate the month of Pride, three thought-provoking and personal episodes have been created, that touch upon the journey in finding and bringing one’s authentic whole-self to work and what this means in relation to issues relevant to gender identity and sexuality.

The first episode introduces Ethan Wilson, a medical student from the University of Glasgow, who shares some of his own personal story around coming out as transgender and finding out what his identity means to him. Ethan has called this episode ‘not seeing myself in the medical curriculum’ and highlights the challenges that still exist, both specifically in terms of the inclusion of transgender health issues in medicine and more broadly, in the curricula’s reflection of the diverse, social, and physical healthcare needs of the patient populations we serve.

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Click to view Ethan's interview

The second episode features Duncan Shrewsbury, a queer academic, general practitioner from Brighton, who candidly shares his journey into queerness and clinical practice. Duncan insightfully shares his experiences of navigating the different challenges that presented in enabling him to bring his authentic, whole self to work as a general practitioner and the value this brought. With sensitivity and authenticity, Duncan also touches upon his experiences of mental health, LGBTQIA+ discrimination and privilege throughout his personal and professional life.

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Click to view Duncan's interview

To further enhance opportunities for conversations, the third episode explores the complexity of the terms gender identity and sexuality as social and biological constructs. In this episode, Ethan and Duncan are joined by Kyle Ring, a Consultant in HIV medicine and sexual health to explore myths around gender and sexuality. As a cis-gendered woman who does not identify with the LGBTQIA+ community, understanding what the correct terminology is and knowing how to be an effective ally can raise many questions. This conversation is hugely enlightening in unravelling some of the complexity concerning issues relevant to gender identity and sexuality. When watching this episode, I encourage you think about your own perspectives on the different myths that are discussed, check out the full episode below.

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TASME TiME Podcast

To continue the theme of meaningful conversations, TASME TIME has created a dedicated podcast exploring LGBTQIA+ in medical education.

This exciting and perceptive podcast features guest speakers, William Ballard, a final year medical student from Hull York Medical Schools, Joseph Hartland, a lecturer, and deputy education director for student diversity issues at Bristol Medical School and Karen Chui, a trauma and orthopaedic register. 

TASME podcast advert
ASME/GMC Excellent Medical Education Awards 2022 - Deadline Sept 22

ASME/GMC Excellent Medical Education Awards 2022

As well as providing valuable resources that spark debate and conversations, ASME is actively encouraging high quality research and scholarship on issues relevant to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

ASME is proud to announce that a new EDI category for the ASME & General Medical Council (GMC) Excellent in Medical Education Awards has been added to the awards portfolio. This category will be an annual occurrence calling for research on a range of diversity issues. This year ASME is specifically looking to attract research on gender identity and sexuality.

LIMA

As part of this communication piece, ASME would like to celebrate and highlight the work of the LGBTQ+ Inclusive Medical Education Alliance (LIMA), who are a network of medical students, doctors, educators, and activists campaigning for better LGBTQ+ teaching in the medical curriculum.

Their vision is for teaching on LGBTQ+ health to be requirement across UK medical schools to equip students in providing individualised care that recognises, acknowledges, and accounts for issues relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Read their guest contribution below to find out more information.

LIMA - LBGTQ Inclusive Medical Education Alliance
UK Medical Schools Charter on Conversion Therapy
GLADD - The Association of LGBTQ+ Doctors and Dentists

UK Medical Schools Charter on Conversion Therapy

I am also delighted to announce that ASME supports the UK Medical Schools Charter on So-Called LGBTQ+ ‘Conversion Therapy.’

We intend to enact our commitment towards supporting the LGBTQIA+ community by firstly actively seeking and encouraging collaborative and continual partnerships with organisations advocating for the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. This year at our annual conference, we invited the organisation GLADD to host a free exhibition stand highlighting the important work they are involved in to support LGBTQIA+ doctors and dentists.

Secondly, increasing opportunities for research and scholarship funding in the field of gender and sexuality. Thirdly, to include the use of pronouns for our conference delegates (optional choice) and in the ASME Journals - Medical Education and The Clinical Teacher. Read our last communication piece, to find out more information on this. Lastly, we have organised continual professional development sessions for the ASME directors, Chairs of Special Interest Groups and Career Groups on the use of pronouns and issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.

ASME ASM 2022

For those reading this communication piece, I hope to see you at our upcoming Annual Conference in Aberdeen this July.

We have a fantastic, jam-packed program with a variety of guest speakers, presenters, and workshops. We are also creating a dedicated EDI stand to feature and celebrate the different ASME diversity resources included in these communication pieces as well as new resources such as the practical ASME Guide on Attracting and Supporting Diverse Talent and the ASME Accessibility Guidelines.

ASME is also proud to announce the launch a new diversity initiative called ENRICH Opportunities which will run every year during the annual conference. The ASME ENRICH Opportunities offers an exciting experience for a selected number of pupils in S5 or S6 in Aberdeen in the summer of 2022 to attend the ASME annual conference for free. This national initiative is designed to actively support young people interested in developing their interests and insight into the field of medical and healthcare education.

I hope the resources in this communication piece inspire you to learn more about the issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community. Join us in celebrating the month of Pride and hopefully see you at the ASME conference!

As part of ASME’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy we actively aim to start and continue meaningful conversations about diversity issues in medicine and healthcare. Throughout the year we will be exploring how we can celebrate and support individuals from culturally diverse, under-represented and marginalised backgrounds.

If you would like to find out more information about ASME’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy, please contact us on diversityinclusion@asme.org.uk.