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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fenway authors write book on LGBT health


To fill a gap in clinical textbooks, doctors from Fenway Community Health have written a book about the healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health, to be published Sept. 30 by the American College of Physicians, is intended for physicians, other healthcare providers and educated consumers interested in specific issues related to LGBT people, co-author Dr. Harvey Makadon said in an interview.

"There is no comprehensive textbook," he said. "We try to go through what the issues are, what we know and what we don't know, and how clinicians can work with patients in a nonjudgmental way."

In the book Makadon and his co-authors Dr. Ken Mayer and Hilary Goldhammer of the Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health and Dr. Jennifer Potter of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center discuss topics of particular concern for LGBT people. As a group they are more likely to smoke, LGBT youth are at higher risk for depression and suicide, and certain cancers are more common, such as anal carcinomas in gay men and breast cancer in lesbians.

"We realized this was an important area that wasn't being covered," Dr. Steven Weinberger, senior vice president for medical education and publishing of the American College of Physicians, said in an interview. "It has not been taught in medical school. Residents can take an elective to work in an environment where they are exposed to LGBT patietns, but it sort of falls through the cracks in terms of the standard curriculum."

In 2003 the University of Toronto Press published "Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide," by Allan D. Peterkin and Cathy Risdon, but the ACP thought it was more specific to Canadian than US healthcare, Tom Hartman of the US publisher said.

A companion web site for the Fenway book, with downloadable forms, will be available Oct. 15 at the ACP site.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 11:21 AM
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