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Pride Month: NYU's nursing school recently introduced a course on queer and trans health

The course was implemented after students requested greater insight into queer experiences of healthcare.

Pride Month: NYU's nursing school recently introduced a course on queer and trans health
Image Source: NYUMeyers / Facebook

The Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University (NYU) piloted a new course focused on "affirming and inclusive" LGBTQ+ health during its spring semester. The college recently announced that the course will be offered to all students as an elective in the upcoming fall 2022 semester. It will be taught by clinical assistant professor Jeff Day, who is also a nurse practitioner at Mt. Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. The motivation to develop and implement the course came from students, who approached the professor in 2019 with an interest to learn more about the queer community's experiences of healthcare, Them reports.


"While ideally LGBTQ+ content would be woven throughout the entire nursing curriculum, we recognized that this amount of change takes time," Day explained in an interview with the media outlet. "So we developed an elective course to help fill the gap in LGBTQ+ educational content." According to a press release from the college, the course is expected to cover the history of LGBTQ+ health, endemic physical and mental health issues, and significant laws and policies that govern the provision of healthcare for people from the LGBTQ+ community.


The newly launched course will also specifically address the concerns of trans folks, who unfortunately encounter unique challenges when accessing healthcare. The professor affirmed, "Given recent attacks on transgender rights, it is more important than ever to educate frontline healthcare workers to deliver competent, gender-affirming care. Drawing upon my own experience caring for transgender patients, and with the input of guest lecturers, this course will lay the foundation for new nurses by providing information ranging from the use of inclusive language, uncovering implicit biases, and meeting the unique medical, surgical, mental health, and reproductive needs of transgender patients."


The course would not have been possible without the interest of students, who pushed for its development in 2019. This is not the only time students at NYU's nursing college have spoken up to demand their school improve its LGBTQ+ health education. For instance, in 2020, NYU’s Clinical Simulation Learning Center, which stages practice simulations for students to gauge their skills, developed new scenarios involving queer and trans patients to promote equitable treatment and decrease bias. This change was implemented as a result of the school’s LGBTQIA2 Nursing Student Association. They submitted the request for more inclusion at the learning center.


According to a 2015 survey of more than 1,000 nursing school faculty members, the median time spent on LGBTQ+ health instruction in nursing programs was only a little more than two hours. Presently, queer folks experience mental health challenges and face regressive laws when accessing healthcare. This is worse among queer folks of color. So it's heartening to see nursing students fight for greater representation and equity in health education, which can help shrink current health disparities in the near future. Kudos to the students of Rory Meyers College!


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