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Canadian Medical Schools Told to Stop Homophobia
 
ONLINE:  MONDAY FEBRUARY 7, 5:38 PM EST (GMT-5).
UPDATED:  THURSDAY FEBRUARY 10, 5:04 PM EST (GMT-5) (below).

RESEARCH set to be published tomorrow in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is describing Canadian medical training as hostile to some gay and lesbian students and recommending that medical schools and residency programs across the country develop policies to condemn discrimination and to punish the guilty parties.  The story was released by the Canadian Press late last night.

The recommendation stems from compelling survey / anecdotal evidence of homophobia in the medical education and training system in Canada.  Students reported not disclosing their sexual orientation for fear of not obtaining a residency placement.  Peer evaluation, described as heavily applied to graduates, was cited as likely increasing the risk for bad marks for gay and lesbian students.  Furthermore, anti-gay comments towards patients were reported as having been both common and left unchallenged.

Although such findings are not new, and certainly not news to the Community, it is reportedly the first time that the Canadian Medical Association has looked into the issue.  Twenty-nine medical students at universities in Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto responded to the survey which was performed by Cathy Risdon and colleagues at McMaster University's Family Medicine Department.

The American Association of Physicians for Human Rights has previously reported that many gay doctors said they were refused work, medical privileges, referrals or other opportunities because of their sexual orientation.

Responses to the Research Results

At 3:00 PM EST the Canadian Medical Association quoted respectable non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to gayottawanow.com, one of which includes sexual orientation, as a statement.  To be fair to the Association, the health care system in Canada, including the education and training component, is a combination of bodies and the Association may have little ability to enforce those policies on Universities.  The policies are what the members - the doctors of Canada - have agreed represent their beliefs.  Notwithstanding, plans of any form to address the research results of their own journal were not included in their statement.

Although many Southam Hollinger newspapers across the country carried the Canadian Press story today, at that same time this afternoon neither of the Universities of Calgary or Ottawa Offices of the Dean of Medicine were familiar with it.

Gayottawanow.com will continue soliciting responses from Canadian medical training authorities regarding what plans they may have, if any, to address this fresh evidence of an old problem.  Reports will follow as they are obtained.


UPDATED:  THURSDAY FEBRUARY 10, 5:04 PM EST (GMT-5)

Dr. Jones, Associate Dean of Education of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, provided a statement late this afternoon to gayottawanow.com.  Dr. Jones had waited to study the article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal before responding.  (The news story had been leaked prior to publication of the article.)

Dr. Jones expressed concern regarding the research results and described knowledge of them as being important.  He said that he will be reviewing the article with the other associate deans of education in the Faculty - in both post-graduate clinical and science areas - and establishing a dialogue with the medical student body on the issue.