From education comes understanding
By Tyler Francischine
It only takes a few dedicated, passionate individuals to make moves that can ignite widespread social change.
As former president of the UF HealthQueer Alliance, third-year College of Medicine student Ansley Schulte is devoted to spreading awareness and education about LGBTQ issues in health care.
“It’s very easy to be scared and apprehensive about something you’re not familiar with,” she says. “There are a lot of gaps in health education when it comes to treating LGBTQ patients. It’s very dear to my heart that I receive good care, and my partner receives good care, along with everyone in the community.”
Schulte is a recipient of both the Women in Medicine Leadership Scholarship and the Hugh and Mabel Wilford Scholarship. Women in Medicine is a not-for-profit organization that awards scholarships to LGBTQ female medical students who have demonstrated leadership for the LGBTQ community. The Wilford Scholarship was created in 2000 to assist medical students in financial need. She says these scholarships allow her to concentrate on what matters most.
“It’s nice to be able to focus on community outreach work and school instead of worrying about how I’ll pay tuition,” she says.
Schulte’s community outreach work includes founding a monthly LGBTQ Specialty Night at the Equal Access Clinic Network at Eastside on Waldo Road. Every third Tuesday of the month, UF medical students provide care for members of the local LGBTQ community.
“It’s a good opportunity for students to have experience and to learn what kinds of care, if any, are going to be different for a trans patient,” she says. “And it’s a safe place for trans people to receive care.”
She says besides being a networking tool for LGBTQ people within UF College of Medicine, the HealthQueer Alliance aims to reduce the amount of medical misinformation and health risks LGBTQ patients face.
“Practice and exposure is what we’re aiming for,” she says. “There’s a lot of miseducation and ignorance. I’ve been lucky enough to receive good health care, but I know a lot of people who haven’t.”
This month, the HealthQueer Alliance celebrates Trans Health Month with a series of workshops and panels. Topics include intimate partner violence, mental health, cultural competency and non-binary gender.
Schulte also serves as director and facilitator for the College of Medicine’s diversity training program. Here she leads small group discussions on personal identity and interpersonal communication for first- and second-year students.
“The culture of a medical school class is solidified quickly, so we want to inject a conversation about diversity early on,” she says. “They’re going to encounter patients and colleagues with different backgrounds, who believe different things. They need to be able to engage with those people.”