Evaluation of physician assistant students' perceived preparedness in providing health care to people who may identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) face barriers to accessing appropriate, non-discriminatory culturally-safe health care. An important strategy to address the disparities experienced by the LGBT population is to ensure preparedness of students graduating from health care professions. Canadian Physician Assistant students’ level of preparedness in caring for LGBT+ patients is unknown. This study used an online survey distributed to students and alumni of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Manitoba to characterize the LGBT+-related health curriculum, and to determine Physician Assistant students’ self-reported preparedness in providing care to patients who identify as LGBT+. We also conducted an interview with a curriculum developer to further characterize the curriculum and to confirm survey findings. Of 34 survey participants, 32 were included in the final analysis. Most students/alumni rated the LGBT+-related curriculum as “fair” or worse. The topics that students and alumni felt most prepared to address where HIV, sexually transmitted infections, alcohol use, tobacco and other drug use, safe sex and gender identity. They felt least prepared addressing sex reassignment surgery, transitioning, adolescent health, disorders of sex development, and body image. Finally, by using our findings as a needs assessment, we proposed recommendations for inclusion of LGBT+-related health content in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of Manitoba.