Questions to Ask Others
You are certainly not required to ask medical schools or current medical students any questions about the experience of being LGBTQ in medical school. But if you want to as you determine the best fit for you as select a medical school, consider some of the following.
What is it like being a student with an LGBTQ identity at this school?
There may be no better source to offer insight on life as an LGBTQ student at a specific school than a current LGBTQ student at that school. Each student’s experience will vary, but a current LGBTQ student should be able to offer first-hand perspective.
What is the LGBTQ community like for students at this school? And in this area?
Not all LGBTQ students at a given school may be involved in the LGBTQ community on campus, but there is a good chance many can offer insight on this dynamic. Knowing what the LGBTQ community is like could help determine if you will be able to find whatever level of community you seek. You may also want to get a sense of the broader LGBTQ community in the area, as support, opportunities, and general culture varies widely across the U.S.
How active is the LGBTQ student group at this school?
While there are LGBTQ student groups at most U.S. medical schools, some are more or less active than others. This can be a product of the current group leadership, varied funding levels, the current number of LGBTQ students at a school, or how engaged a school’s LGBTQ students are. If you have the chance, ask a current LGBTQ student how active the group is at their school.
What opportunities have you taken advantage of related to LGBTQ health (research, volunteering, etc.)?
If you have the chance to meet a current LGBTQ medical school student during your visit, you may ask if they have participated in any LGBTQ initiatives or opportunities. They may be able to offer insight on if such opportunities exist and, if so, what they are like.
Medical Schools (faculty, administrators, interviewers)
What does your medical school do to support LGBTQ students and promote diversity and inclusion among its students?
One Stanford medical student asked this very question of all the schools at which they interviewed and found the answers from schools varied quite a bit. Some answers were insightful, others were too broad, and some were simply unhelpful. This is a very direct approach that should provide direct insight into a school, but this forward of a question may not be comfortable for everyone.
What kinds of resources does your medical school have around diversity and inclusion?
This is a broader approach, and responses can be telling. Some answers may focus most on race and ethnicity, while others may be more inclusive of other identities like sexuality, gender identity, disability, etc. It can also be helpful just to hear how robust or limited the institution's resources dedicated to diversity and inclusion are.
Are there any opportunities at your medical school to work with LGBTQ patient populations?
Are there any opportunities at your medical school to conduct or participate in LGBTQ health-related research?
You may learn of LGBTQ-specific research opportunities from a school’s website beforehand, but asking about them while visiting the school can provide more first-hand insight, opportunities to connect with researchers, and an opening to demonstrate any interest you have in this area.
How is LGBTQ health incorporated into the medical curriculum at this school?
Some medical schools offer basic LGBTQ health training within their curricula, and many have LGBTQ health-related electives. Other schools may have incorporated LGBTQ health more robustly in the standard curriculum. Boston University, for example, integrated evidence-based transgender medicine into its core curriculum and found it increased student comfort with treating transgender patients.