LGBT Doctors Association was established in Israel

The Israel Medical Association, incorporating all the doctors in Israel, recently approved the establishment of the new Doctors Association to promote health and medicine among the LGBT community in Israel.

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The historic approval was given after discussions and internal debates, at the end of which the new Association recently passed all the steps for the approval of the request at the Scientific Council and the Central Committee of the IMA. The crucial meeting was held two weeks ago, and approved the establishment of the new union after the vote was an overwhelming majority to approve the request.

The request for the establishment of the LGBT Medical Association union was made by 60 physicians in the medical field and by various health institutions in Israel, and they also will be the members of the new union and will be joined by other doctors.

The establishment of the union is led by two general practitioners, Dr.Gal Wagner Kolasko and Dr. Ruth Gophen, standing at the head of the LGBT clinic at Meir Park in Tel Aviv, which was founded seven years ago as a unique clinic for the LGBT community by Clalit medical care.

The founders of the new medical union declared before the IMA that the purpose of its establishment is “expanding the medical knowledge base that exists for the LGBT community, dissemination of knowledge among medical teams in each area, and fighting prejudice and manifestations of LGBTphobia against patients, which unfortunately exist in some of the medical teams in the country.”

The founders also state that “international studies indicate the importance of medical knowledge, research and the provision of medical services adapted to different groups in the population, such as women, people of color, youth and others. These studies found that there are also barriers that damage the accessibility of medical services among the LGBT community, which has unique health characteristics and for whom there are specific barriers that harm accessibility to health care services and the receiving of such services.”

In the request of the founders of the association they warn that “apart from the health and morbidity characteristics among the LGBT community, there are also barriers that prevent members of the community from receiving medical services like the rest of the population because of concerns of patients about the effects of discrimination and LGBTphobia, discrimination and the judgmental attitude from medical personnel, shame and more. These barriers hurt the ability to perform medical surveillance and screening for early detection, and hence there is also an increased risk of various diseases such as heart disease and malignant diseases among the community members.”

The new union also plans to initiate new studies on LGBT-related medical issues, to try to influence policy makers at the Ministry of Health, hospitals and health care services, in issues related to the community, to initiate advocacy among medical personnel and the public and create collaborations and relationships with similar medical organizations around the world, especially in the United States, and with the LGBT community in Israel.