In partnership with Katherine J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S., assistant professor, Nicolas has been involved in a research project to further explore the formal curriculum of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) healthcare issues in medical education.
“Residency is a pivotal time for physicians to learn how to manage diverse patient populations and to prepare them to practice in tomorrow’s dynamic healthcare system. To our knowledge no formal examination of this LGBTQ health education within family medicine residency programs has ever been conducted,” Nicolas explained.
The research will survey every family medicine program director in the United States on LGBTQ patient care education. Simultaneously, a separate survey will be sent to family medicine residents.
“The assessment of both family medicine program directors and residents regarding their program’s current curriculum will be compared to determine if discrepancies exist between perceived quality and quantity of curriculum and will allow a rich view of current teaching. The results will provide valuable information for residents, faculty, and policy-makers. Additionally, individual programs may be able to compare their educational offerings to those in the ‘average’ family medicine program. The methods and results of these surveys can further be extended to residency programs of other specialties as a template for future possible surveys and curriculum evaluation,” concluded Nicolas.
Under the guidance of Margaret A. Riley, M.D., assistant professor and medical director of the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools, Kathryn designed MiHealth, a medical student-taught high school health education program. “MiHealth aims to increase high school students’ health literacy while reducing their risk behaviors, by bringing medical students into the high school classroom as teachers and mentors,” shared Kathryn. It was piloted at Lincoln High School, in Ypsilanti, Mich. The medical students designed and led a series of six lessons covering Smoking & Drugs, Mental Health & Depression, Healthy Relationships, Sexual Health, Nutrition & Healthy Eating, and Fitness & Exercise in two health classes.
“For each lesson, questions were written to assess effectiveness in imparting health knowledge, impacting attitudes related to health behaviors, and student satisfaction and engagement. Participating high school students, as well as a control group, were surveyed one week prior to the program. Following each lesson, questions pertaining to that lesson’s material were administered again. Three months following the completion of the program, the full survey will be given to the participating and control groups, to assess the program’s longer-term impacts. Additionally, participating medical students were surveyed on the impact teaching had on their current and future plans,” said Kathryn.
This summer, Kathryn will conduct data analysis and draft a manuscript for publication. She hypothesizes that there will be an increase in health knowledge among the high school students and an increased desire of community involvement among the medical students.
The Gorenflo Award aims to provide incentive and reward passion for research among medical students or residents who are engaging in research with a family medicine faculty member.