In conjunction with Pride month, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has issued a position statement highlighting the specialty’s commitment to better educating physicians on the unique needs of LGBTQ/SGM patients and reducing the healthcare disparities often faced by these patients. The statement reads:
In an effort to further fulfill dermatology’s commitment to caring for diverse populations, including LGBTQ/SGM persons, in accordance with AAD’s core values of patient-first medicine and visionary leadership, the following positions are recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology. The AAD:
1. Recognizes and affirms the identity and dignity of LGBTQ/SGM (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer / sexual and gender minority) individuals and recognizes their unique health needs.
2. Opposes all bias and discrimination based upon gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation and supports development of gender-neutral policies in patient care and in healthcare facilities.
3. Endorses policies and initiatives that ensure nondiscrimination, that are sensitive to the health and well-being of gender and sexual minority individuals, that enhance the health of LGBTQ/SGM people, and that promote an understanding of issues of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
4. Recognizes that transgender and gender diverse individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender-affirming treatments.
5. Supports evidence-based coverage of all gender-affirming therapy and procedures that help the mental and physical well-being of gender diverse individuals.
6. Recognizes that gender-affirming procedures and treatments are not “cosmetic” or “elective” or for the mere convenience of the patient. These procedures are not optional in any meaningful sense, but are understood to be medically necessary for the health and well-being of the individual.
7. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage of gender transition treatment.
8. Supports the ability of transgender and gender-diverse persons to utilize public facilities of the gender with which they identify and opposes any legislation or policy that would infringe upon that ability.
9. Supports inclusive curricula in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education that covers LGBTQ/SGM health issues.
10. Supports comprehensive research, routine collection of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) data, and development of quality improvement measures that will expand knowledge and ability to evaluate and treat dermatologic concerns in LGBTQ/SGM individuals and ensure optimal health outcomes.
11. Supports training in cultural humility and structural competency for students, trainees, employees, dermatologists, and other healthcare providers.
In addition, the AAD’s statement highlights the steps the organization has taken to help physicians better care for LGBTQ/SGM patients. They include:
- Dedicated educational sessions and “hands-on” workshops at both Annual and Summer AAD meetings
- Formation of the AAD LGBTQ/SGM Health Expert Resource Group (ERG) with a mission of facilitating communication and collaboration among dermatologists with an interest in promoting LGBTQ/SGM health
- Incorporation of LGBTQ/SGM content into the online AAD basic dermatology curriculum modules
- Revision of the AAD position statement on isotretinoin to support a gender-neutral categorization model in iPLEDGE that is based on child-bearing potential rather than on gender identity
- Forthcoming book chapters and continuing medical education (CME) articles for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD)