UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL STUDENT HONORED WITH LGBT HEALTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 

February 23, 2007 

WORCESTER, Mass.-Jessica Wang of Shrewsbury, a second-year student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), has been named the recipient of the 9th Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Achievement Award by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA). Wang is being honored for her contributions as an advocate for introducing issues that effect LGBT patients into the Medical School curriculum and as a student leader of QMass, a UMMS student organization dedicated to supporting and promoting LGBT issues. 

AMSA and GLMA established the Health Achievement Award to recognize a medical school, student group or individual student for exemplary achievement in promoting the inclusion of LGBT health issues or concerns within a medical school. With this award, AMSA and GLMA solidify their joint commitment to advocacy for LGBT health concerns within the medical education environment. The award will be presented on March 9 as part of AMSA's 57th annual convention in Washington, D.C., and again on September 29 at GLMA's 25th Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

"QMass really gets a boost of confidence and energy from being recognized by AMSA and GLMA.  This award helps to affirm that we are moving in the right direction with our projects and goals in LGBT health care awareness at UMass Medical School," said Wang. "It is great to know that I can make a difference as an ally and that what I do is considered legitimate and important." 

With student and faculty support, QMass seeks to enhance LGBT health care awareness at UMMS through curriculum advocacy as well as through a support network for LGBT and allied members of UMass.  The group seeks to systematically and comprehensively integrate LGBT healthcare issues into the curriculum, including health care disparities and transgender health.  Additional initiatives included sponsored student lunches on the health care needs of LGBT adolescents and elders and transgender people, and the development of an outreach program to local high school gay/straight alliances.  

"We are thrilled to present this year's Health Achievement Award that recognizes the work of Jessica and her colleagues in QMass.  We were particularly impressed with QMass' curricular advocacy and support network for LGBT and allied members," says Elizabeth Eaman, AMSA national co-coordinator for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Medicine. 

"Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people often takes its form in their lack of representation, whether it is in the health care curriculum, medical research or clinical practice.  As much as anyone, they deserve health care that is relevant to their needs. QMass believes that the best way to do that is to educate medical students, nursing students and all health care providers about LGBT health care concerns," Wang said. 

"These students are leading the way to a future where LGBT patients receive care that's as good as anyone else would receive. We are grateful for their efforts to eliminate the health disparities faced by LGBT communities," said Joel Ginsberg, executive director of GLMA. 

According to UMMS Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and QMass Faculty Advisor Emily Ferrara, MA, "Jessica's steadfast commitment to LGBT advocacy during her first two years of medical school has made a visible impact at the Medical School.  Faculty have enthusiastically welcomed her as a partner in efforts to improve the curriculum, and her leadership has been recognized by her fellow students, who nominated her for this award.  In all areas of impact, Jessica has been an enthusiastic collaborator and leader, helping to keep issues relevant to LGBT people-whether patient, provider, or student-in the public eye." 

About the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association 
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is the world's largest association of LGBT health care professionals and a leader in the effort to achieve equality in health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. With members in the U.S., Canada and other countries, GLMA achieves its goals by using medical expertise in professional education, public policy work, patient education and referrals, and the promotion of research. GLMA welcomes health care professionals of all disciplines to join the organization. To learn more about GLMA, visit
 www.glma.org . 


About the American Medical Student Association 
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), with more than a half-century history of medical student activism, is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. With more than 68,000 members, including medical and premedical students, residents and practicing physicians, AMSA is committed to improving medical training as well as advancing the profession of medicine. AMSA focuses on four strategic priorities, including universal health care, disparities in medicine, diversity in medicine and transforming the culture of medical education. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at
 http://www.amsa.org/ . 

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School 
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of five campuses of the University system and one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country.  It encompasses the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate School of Nursing, a thriving research enterprise and an innovative public service initiative called Commonwealth Medicine. The mission of UMass Medical School is to serve the people of the Commonwealth through national distinction in health sciences education, research and public service. 

Contact: Kelly Bishop, 508-856-2000, ummsnews@umassmed.edu