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Student leaders in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Medicine student run organization at the Medical College of Wisconsin noticed that curricular language around sex and gender was absent and/or incorrect in the pre-clinical medical school (M1/M2) courses. After reaching out to the M2 Endocrine/Repro Unit course director, students prepared a report to present to all M1/M2 Course Directors.

Objectives: One goal of the report was to “educate the educators” so that faculty would have better understanding of the distinction between sex and gender. Ultimately this would translate to the students and improve overall future patient care.

Methods: A presentation was developed and given at the quarterly M1/M2 course director meeting (Fall 2019). Information included statistics from the 2015 US Transgender Survey which underscored that ignorance surrounding sex versus gender terminology could result in an environment in which patients do not seek care. The student presentation comprehensively explained the definitions of sex, gender, cisgender and transgender. Course directors were given action items to evaluate their courses and afirm that terms were used appropriately. Student leaders provided contact information for faculty feedback.

Conclusions/Impact: In February 2020, students reported of changes in some courses. For example, the M2 cardiovascular unit led off the session on women and heart disease with sex and gender definitions provided by students. Cardiovascular risks of hormonal therapy for transgender patients was included. Students noted that language around sex and gender in the M2 endocrine-repro unit was consistently correct (female not woman when discussing XX fetus). A M1 pharmacology lecture included the student's definition slide as prelude to discussion of male/female differences in drug response. With little effort, students played an integral role in improving curricular content related to sex and gender medicine and further supporting the model that students are important drivers of change.

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Sex Gender Medical Education

Students Take Lead to Educate Faculty on the Use of Sex and Gender Terminology in Pre-clinical Courses