Original Article

Using a Hybrid Lecture and Small-Group Standardized Patient Case to Teach the Inclusive Sexual History and Transgender Patient Care

Authors: Sarah E. Stumbar, MD, MPH, Nana Aisha Garba, MD, PhD, Maria Stevens, MD, Elizabeth Gray, MD, Emiri Uchimaya, MD, Prasad Bhoite, MPH


Objectives: Previous negative experiences with the medical community often leave transgender people reluctant to seek medical care. Inadequate teaching and exposure to transgender health during medical training perpetuates the health disparities experienced by this community. Although undergraduate medical education is uniquely positioned to address these disparities, curricular coverage of these topics remains inadequate.

Methods: The second-year clinical skills course at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine includes a workshop consisting of a 1-hour lecture about the inclusive sexual history, followed by a 1.5-hour small group during which students interview a standardized patient playing the role of a transgender man and participate in a faculty-facilitated debriefing. To evaluate the 2019 workshop, students were provided with an optional, anonymous, pre- and postsession survey consisting of multiple choice and Likert-type questions.

Results: After the session, there was a statistically significant increase in students’ knowledge of the components of an inclusive sexual history, in the number of students who believed that their medical training had prepared them to effectively provide care for transgender patients, and in the number who reported feeling comfortable taking a sexual history from a patient who identifies as transgender. Most students thought the standardized patient case was realistic and found the postencounter debriefing session helpful in identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that students found this brief, interactive sexual history workshop, which included a lecture and standardized patient case, to be an effective component of their medical training. Although our transgender patient case was acted primarily by cis-gender people, students perceived this as a realistic opportunity to actively explore the nuances of obtaining a history from a transgender patient. In addition, our findings suggest that it is possible to merge teaching on sexual history and transgender health care, which is important in time-limited undergraduate medical education curricula.

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