McKinnish to serve on AAMC advisory committee

Tyler McKinnish, MS-2 co-vice president of curriculum affairs, has been selected to serve on the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Development (Axis) as a member of its Learning Environment Ad Hoc Committee.

 McKinnish to serve on AAMC advisory committee click to enlarge Second-year medical student Tyler McKinnish

The committee is focused on making medical schools more welcome to LGBT students and teaching future physicians best practices for interacting with LGBT patients. Last year, the AAMC released a list of recommendations for medical schools and McKinnish quickly began forming coalitions to implement those recommendations at UNC. Julie Byerley, MD, vice dean for education, recognized his work in Chapel Hill, and suggested McKinnish apply for a position on the AAMC’s national committee. He will be the lone student representative.

In her recommendation letter, Byerley wrote: “Tyler is extremely professional and interacts well with peers, faculty, senior administrators and other staff. It is easy for him to develop rapport and build relationships because he is respectful, he listens, and he is receptive to feedback.  He’s a consummate team player.”

McKinnish said one of his first responsibilities on the committee will be to write scripts for a video series aimed at teaching medical students and providers to effectively communicate with LGBT patients.

“You can have the skills to care for a patient, but if you don’t know how to talk to them in the language that they want you to use, you can’t be an effective provider,” McKinnish said.

McKinnish points to health disparities among LGBT patients saying: “We have to start paying attention or these disparities will continue and get worse.”

He credits UNC with being proactive in implementing the AAMC’s recommendation and said he looks forward to continuing this work on a national level.

“UNC’s efforts and reputation speak for itself, so I won’t have to convince anyone it’s a great place, I’m just excited to reach a lot more schools and students with this important work.”

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