Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The lived experiences of gay physicians in academic medicine
by Holley, Matthew, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2016, 184; 10129386
Abstract (Summary)

Background: Despite efforts by academic medical centers to adopt institutional policies and practices to create an inclusive environment for LGBT patients, students, staff, and faculty, the literature on the experiences of LGBT faculty with academic medicine is limited. Thus, this study examined the career experiences of gay physicians in academic medicine to further develop a narrative of the queer faculty experience.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted with eleven full-time academic physicians from various AAMC accredited medical schools who openly identify as gay. In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant to understand their reasons for becoming a physician, their career progression and current roles, and their experiences with particular elements of faculty life such as promotion and tenure.

Results: A thematic analysis using interpretative phenomenological analysis techniques revealed that the lived experience of gay physicians can be grouped into two categories based upon the saliency of sexual identity. In the first, the academic physician’s sexual identity is at the forefront, whereas in the second, sexual identity becomes almost invisible. The influence of sexual identity can be clearly seen in the service obligations of gay academic physicians as well as the relationships they create with learners, colleagues, and patients. While gay physicians in academic medicine struggle to find other LGBT mentors, they do often rely on a network of mentors similar to all academic physicians. Lastly, there did not appear to be significant consequences for gay physicians navigating a career in academic medicine nor being successful in the promotion and tenure process.

Conclusions: Findings from this study indicate that the environment for LGBT individuals within academic medicine is rapidly evolving. Yet, the results of this study still suggest opportunities for leaders within academic health centers to implement inclusive policies and benefit programs for LGBT individuals, develop active recruitment and retention programs for LGBT faculty, and infuse LGBT perspectives into institutional programming. By doing so, academic medical centers allow LGBT faculty to be their authentic self and ultimately be thriving clinical educators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson Laird, Thomas F.
Commitee: Dankoski, Mary E., Palmer, Megan M., Patton Davis, Lori D.
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, GLBT Studies, Medicine
Keywords: Academic medicine, Faculty, Faculty development, Higher education, LGBT faculty, Medical education
Publication Number: 10129386
ISBN: 978-1-339-87277-3
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