New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows Ana Rodriguez-Villa '18 and Brendin Beaulieu-Jones '18, both second-year students at the Geisel School of Medicine, are working to address stigma and prejudice against LGBTQ youth in Vermont’s Upper Valley with a weekly youth support group at The Junction, LISTEN Community Services’ teen center, and by developing a curriculum aimed at preparing medical students to provide informed and supportive care to the LGBTQ community.
“The importance of this work is unmistakable,” says Brendin. “LGBTQ youth are at greater risk for depression and suicide, among other health complications. They are a group that requires attention and support both medical and personal.
“Furthermore, I hope our work to develop a curriculum focused on LGTBQ health for first and second year medical students serves as a building block for more formal integration of these topics into medical education,” he adds. “Ana and I believe physicians must be prepared to care for this population in a competent and compassionate manner; they must be provided with opportunities to engage with LGBTQ people to practice the skills and competency needed to advance their specific health needs.”