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Frontliners: Social Justice

SGIM is honoring our members at the front lines of Social Justice with our  member highlight series, "Frontliners: Social Justice". Are you or anyone you know at the front lines of Social Justice? Contact us with the subject “Frontliners: Social Justice” to have your story told.

Shana Zucker, MD, MPH, MS; PGY-2 Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital

Q: How did you first get involved in LGBTQ+ care?
A: My journey into the world of LGBTQ+ healthcare is rooted in my personal experiences navigating the health system as a queer woman. It came to a head when I was in medical school studying for an infectious disease module. I noticed that any time a practice question stem mentioned a gay man, the answer was always related to sequelae of HIV. Gay men, according to these practice questions, had no other illnesses, and no one other than gay men would be diagnosed with HIV; it was a one-dimensional, narrow-minded approach that was training me to anchor on principles based in stereotypes and not epidemiology. And during this study period I also happened to have a doctor’s appointment in which I was met with derision—not for the first time—when answering questions related to my sexual health because my doctor was making assumptions about my sexuality as well as plans for childbearing. It reinforced to me that the only ways in which health professionals are trained about queer people is that “gay man = HIV,” when LGBTQ+ health is obviously so much more than that. (I talk about this more in an article I wrote for SheMD, here: At that time my thought was that if I made a curriculum to teach core concepts in queer health that would be mandatory for medical students at my school, then a new generation of doctors would be equipped with the knowledge, familiarity, and skillsets needed to provide competent care. That was what led me to develop a series of online modules using primary literature as well as case-based scenarios, which I called the “Queericulum.”.

Q: You co-authored Teaching LGBTQ+ Health, a free, online curriculum designed for educators teaching LGBTQ+ health. How did this project get started and what was your goal for the curriculum?
A: As I continued throughout medical school and started connecting with LGBTQ+ health leaders across the country, I came to understand that a lot of medical education projects working to advance queer health are driven by motivated students, and that a key problem with such curricula is whether they can be sustained once the pioneers of the projects graduate. I also realized that my idealism of focusing on undergraduate medical education as the target audience of such projects also meant that it would take years, if not decades, for queer health literacy to become the norm among health professionals. That was when I realized that faculty development posed a unique intervention opportunity, which led me to partner with colleagues at Stanford to develop Teaching LGBTQ+ Health. The aim was that we would not only deliver queer health content but also strategies for educators as to how to teach it longitudinally to their learners.

Course can be accessed via Stanford’s Med Education website ( or Coursera (; on either platform users need only create a free account to access the course

Q: In 2022, you co-authored two publications related to LGBTQ+ health. In one of these studies, Evaluating Medical Students’ Views of the Complexity of Sexual Minority Patients and Implications for Care, you determined that students view LGB patients as more complex compared with heterosexual patients. How does this finding impact care for LGB patients, and what does this indicate for physician education on LGB care?
A:Our findings pointed not only to the need for improved education in LGBTQ+ health content but also to the need for increased familiarity and exposure to sexual and gender minority (SGM) identities in healthcare. The results of our study affirmed what I had sensed when my journey into queer health began: that when current education efforts reinforce that the only notable queer identity is a gay man and the only ailment which he could have is HIV, anything outside of this paradigm would be unfamiliar and decrease one’s confidence in evaluation and treatment of the patient. There is an urgent need for physicians to improve our competence and confidence in queer health in order to provide high quality care to a population that already experiences health disparities and victimization.  Paper:

Q: Do you have any current projects or research you are working on related to LGBTQ+ care?
A: Currently I am working with my colleagues with whom I developed the Teaching LGBTQ+ Health course to analyze its efficacy and impact. It was illuminating to read the reflections our participants shared as they worked through the material.

Q: How can SGIM members support your work?
A: I encourage SGIM members to check out the Teaching LGBTQ+ Health course and to share widely! I am always happy to collaborate with individuals interested in improving queer health education across undergraduate and graduate medical education as well as faculty development/continuing education spectrum—do not hesitate to reach out to me at

Nicole E. McAmis, MD, Emergency Medicine Resident at Stanford Health Care

Areeba Kara MD, MS, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, IUSM, Associate Division Chief Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and Curtis Wright MD, MBA, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, IUSM, Associate Program Director, IM Residency Program

Rahul Vanjani, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University

Michele Heisler, MD, MPH, Professor of Internal Medicine and Public Health at the University of Michigan and Medical Director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

Heather Whelan, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, UCSF/San Francisco VA Medical Center

Lucille M. Torres-Deas, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Amy H Farkas, MD MS Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Divya Venkat, MD: Co-Director of CIH RIvER Clinic

Joanne Bernstein, MD, MSE, Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Elizabeth Davis, MD; Medical Director of Community Health Equity, Rush University Medical Center. @LizDavisMD

Jonathan Ross, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center

Dr. Celeste Newby, MD, PhD, FACP, Academic hospitalist, Assistant Professor, John W.Deming Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine
Dr. Lamar K. Johnson, MD, Academic Hospitalist, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Christiana Care/Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University

Rita Lee, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Hannah Lichtsinn, MD, FAAP, Internal Medicine and Sickle Cell, Hennepin Healthcare and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota

Dr. Sarah Kimball, Co-Director of the Immigrant & Refugee Health Center at Boston Medical Center

Dr. James Hudspeth, Director of the Global Health Pathway

Dr. Galina Tan, Internal Medicine primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance and instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Michelle Ogunwole, General Internal Medicine Fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine