Quotes from the Front Line: As physicians, it's 'important to educate ourselves on topics' like LGBTQ health

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Adolescence often represents a difficult period in one's life. Having a physician who may not understand the full scope of your health and medical history may create additional stress or feelings of inadequacy. One medical student aims learn more about the health issues affecting LGBTQ youth and to help teach future pediatricians how to make LGBTQ patients feel more comfortable in the waiting room.

Nicholas Bonenfant, a medical student at the Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine at The University of Vermont in Burlington, told NBC News he began contemplating LGBTQ health issues after leading a Q&A at a Boston LGBTQ clinic in July 2016. He said he was caught off guard when a young woman asked if physicians "were trained to talk to people like [her]," according to the report.

"I was so caught off guard by what she asked, but also, I just didn't have an answer to give her … When I was young like that, I knew that my feelings and emotions didn't match what this medical authority — this pediatrician — was saying, which made me feel like there was something wrong. [Learning more about LGBTQ health issues, especially those affecting transgender kids and LGBTQ youth of color] taught me to try to never alienate a patient the way that I felt when I was younger and that our education isn't from what we're told to learn, but that it's so important to explore topics that we come across and educate ourselves as best we can … I think if I had had a pediatrician who felt more like an ally to me, I would have been a much more confident kid … I wouldn't have struggled so much, through all of adolescence, with just accepting who I was."

To view the full article, click here.

If you would like to contribute a quote for this series, please email Alyssa Rege at arege@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in "Quotes from the Front Line," a daily series that highlights the trials and tribulations medical personnel face daily while on the job.

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